Accusations of violations of rights and freedoms on Crimean peninsula, including those of Crimean Tatars, based on the information from social media are groundless and represent a paradoxical trend followed by the Western partners, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Sunday.
ALUSHTA (Sputnik) — In January, Ukraine accused Russia of discriminating the Tatar minority in Crimea and appealed to the International Court of Justice regarding this issue though no sufficient evidence have been provided as the court later stated.
“It is a paradox, when we meet our US partners, who blame us for violating freedoms in Crimea… ask them to provide facts and they say that everything could be found in social media. They do not allow their journalists or civil organizations [to visit Crimea], threatening to impose sanctions on them and even fire people,” Zakharova said at the first media forum “Open Crimea by Own Eyes,” which is taking place in the resort city of Alushta.
Head of the Republic of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov also commented on the situation stressing that all Russian citizens on the peninsula enjoyed all freedoms regardless of their ethnicity.
“All Russian citizens residing in Crimea enjoy equal rights. Crimean Tatars are not oppressed. We have organized systematic hajj trips, we are constructing a cathedral mosque, the representatives not only of Crimean Tatars, but also other ethnicities are represented in executive bodies,” Aksyonov said.
In 2016, Crimea’s High Court banned the Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People as an extremist organization for anti-Russian activities. The organization opposed the reunification of Crimea with Russia in 2014 and organized product and energy blockade of the peninsula. The decision of Russian authorities was criticized by some Western media and politicians as violating political freedoms.