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Statement by Ambassador Ivan Soltanovsky, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe on the situation of national minorities in Crimea

Over the past six years, Russia has been substantively engaged in promoting socio-economic, cultural, religious and other rights of numerous national minorities living in Crimea - Armenian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Greek, Crimean Tatar, Italian and German. The efforts of the Russian authorities to strengthen inter-ethnic peace and harmony are visible to any impartial observer, as well as the fact that there are no serious ethnic tensions in everyday life in Crimea.

There are officially three State languages in Crimea - Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar.

After reunification of Crimea with Russia in 2014 the Ukrainian authorities completely cut the North Crimean canal which was the main source of freshwater for Crimea’s population numbering over 2 million, including half a million of Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians. This canal provided for 85% of the needs of the Crimean people in clean and safe drinking water. Expressing concern regarding the fate of Crimean Tatars in words, Ukraine, actually, is trying to strangulate the Peninsula, which is vulnerable to water scarcity, by the draught.

We are more than disappointed by the silence of the European Union, other colleagues, as well as the Council of Europe’s monitoring mechanisms on utterly inhuman methods used by Kiev in violation of basic human rights.

I would like to emphasize that, as an integral part of the Russian Federation, Crimea is fully covered by the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. In that light, the Peninsula is open to international monitors, including the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, within their respective mandates, in accordance with international obligations and the legislation of the Russian Federation.

We would like to draw the attention of the Council of Europe to the report on the human rights situation in Ukraine which has been recently issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. We call upon the monitoring bodies of the Council of Europe to make use of this information in their work.

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