"The total militarization of the peninsula is taking place in Crimea. Russia uses it as a base for expansion into the Balkans, the Middle East, and the entire Mediterranean. The participation of Russian mercenaries in the war in Libya and Syria is provided from Crimea," Deputy Prime Minister – Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov said during a briefing for UN member states on February 20, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.
According to him, Russia also commits a large-scale war crime, systematically changing the composition of the population of Crimea, thereby violating the Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
The Deputy Prime Minister reminded that the UN General Assembly resolution of December 16, 2020 condemned human rights violations in the occupied Crimea, imposition of Russian citizenship, illegal election campaigns and votes, changes in the demographic composition of the Crimean population and suppression of national identity.
"More than 500,000 people from the Russian Federation have already been brought there [to the occupied Crimea] to reduce the share of ethnic Ukrainians and the indigenous people - the Crimean Tatars. Over the temporary occupation, about 25% of the population has already been replaced," the official stressed.
He stressed that the sharp increase in population and large-scale military construction leads to the barbaric exploitation of water resources and disruptions in water supply, the destruction of the unique ecosystem of Crimea.
"So the challenges go far beyond purely Ukrainian ones. They are at least European in scale. And the reason for these challenges is Russian aggression," Reznikov stressed.
Before 2014, Ukraine provided for 85% of Crimea's fresh water needs through the North Crimean Canal, which connects the Dnieper with the peninsula. After Russia had occupied Crimea, water supply to Crimea was stopped.
Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly stated that water supply to Crimea will be restored only after the de-occupation of the peninsula.
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