The international volunteer intelligence community InformNapalm continues to actively collect evidence of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine during the years of 2014-2020. These materials are distributed in many world languages, not only through publications on the community’s website, but also in print. These are being distributed at high international level among foreign experts, journalists, diplomats, and politicians. The dissemination of these materials is possible thanks to the activity of volunteers from different countries and with the assistance of representatives of official Ukrainian delegations in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, NATO, OSCE, as well as through the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and individual diplomats.
In the USA, representatives of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) from different countries were presented with handbooks that contained the facts about the Russian aggression in the Crimea.
This time, Ukrainian representatives of the Permanent Delegation to the OSCE PA, which was present in the United States as election observers between 1 and 4 November 2020, took the opportunity to present to their OSCE colleagues the English-language guidebook “Crimea Behind the Curtain. Guide to the Occupied Zone”. This guide was developed by the Prometheus Security Environment Research Center. It contains exclusive materials on the occupation and militarization of Crimea, gathered by the InformNapalm community. The guide was published with the assistance of the Canadian Foundation for Local Initiatives and the International Renaissance Foundation, so it is distributed free of charge to experts.
It is notable that despite the internal political competition, the members of the Ukrainian parliament from three different parties, Servant of the People, European Solidarity, and Voice, offered an example of cooperation in the international representation. The distribution of this guide was a suggestion made together by several Ukrainian MPs and representatives participating in the US trip: MPs Mykyta Poturayev, Serhiy Rakhmanin, and Pavlo Frolov, and Vitaliy Rudenko, an aide to the MP Artur Herasymov. This shows the ability of different members of international Ukrainian delegations to cooperate in the interest of Ukraine.
After returning from the United States, Mykyta Poturayev, Head of the Permanent Delegation to the OSCE PA, provided a photo report on the effective distribution of the publications.
Copies of the guide were delivered to OSCE PA Secretary-General Roberto Montella (Italy), OSCE PA Deputy Secretary-General Gustavo Pallares (Spain), OSCE PA Delegate Lars Thomsson (Sweden), OSCE Vice-President Maarte / Margareta Cederfelt (Sweden), Head of the OSCE Delegation from Sweden Johan Büser, Italian Delegate to the OSCE PA Mauro Del Barba, Delegate from the Netherlands to the OSCE PA Farah Karimi, Portuguese Delegate to the OSCE PA Lima / André Coelho Lima, Special Coordinator of the OSCE Election Observation Mission, German delegate to the OSCE PA Michael Link, Norwegian delegate to the OSCE PA Kari Henriksen and many other politicians and delegates from various countries who were present at the US elections as observers.
As Pavlo Frolov, a member of the OSCE PA Permanent Delegation from Ukraine, said on his Facebook page, due to the COVID-19 pandemic this was in fact the first in-person meeting of OSCE PA representatives from different countries after the OSCE PA winter session in Vienna. The delegation made the best effort to use this opportunity to inform its colleagues about the problem of occupation and militarization of Crimea.
Also, separately during the meeting, the English-language copies of “Crimea Behind the Curtain. Guide to the Occupied Zone” were presented to the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the United States Volodymyr Yelchenko so that the Embassy of Ukraine in the United States could use these materials in its work, too.
The guidebook “Crimea Behind the Curtain. Guide to the Occupied Zone ” reveals various aspects of the Russian aggression and militarization of Crimea. PDF versions of the book can be found at the website of the Prometheus Center for the Study of the Security Environment.
One might recall that in 2018, experts from the Prometheus Center also presented the results of the international success of the book about Russia’s aggression in the Donbas: “Donbas in Flames. Guide to the Conflict Zone”. The electronic version of the book in 5 languages was downloaded by users from 82 countries, and the printed version was presented in 54 diplomatic missions of Ukraine around the world. Over the course of a year, presentations of the book, which was distributed free of charge, took place in various cities of Ukraine, as well as in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Austria and the USA. You can download the PDF version of the book by following the link.
Consequences of the occupation of Crimea and ways to punish Russia
As a topic of a special significance, Ukrainian diplomats constantly note the following negative consequences of the ongoing occupation of the Crimean Peninsula:
- Taking advantage of the status of a nuclear state and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, for the first time since World War II, the Russian Federation has decided to start an international conflict within Europe and occupy Crimea. Without meeting the proper reaction of the world community to these actions, the Kremlin took further steps to build a “land corridor” to Crimea at the expense of the territories of southeastern Ukraine. This led to the outbreak of an undeclared (hybrid) war in the Donbas, which has already claimed more than 14,000 lives.
- The largest multi-branch group of Russian troops in Europe is in the occupied Crimea. Soviet military airfields, missile launch sites, air defense facilities and nuclear weapons storage bases are now restored. Fifteen ships of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea are equipped with Kalibr missiles, some modifications of this type of missile being able to be equipped with a nuclear warhead and have a range of up to 2600 km, which makes the Black Sea Fleet a dangerous combat unit. In addition, Iskander-M missile systems equipped with 9M729 cruise missiles can hit targets at a distance up to 2,500 km. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and Russia was terminated specifically because of the issue of the Kalibr missiles and the Iskander system. It should be noted that once Crimea was occupied, Tu-22M3 strategic bombers and Su-34 tactical bombers, which can also carry nuclear charges, were transferred to the Crimean Peninsula.
- In addition to the total militarization of the Black and Azov seas of the Crimean Peninsula, the rattling of new weapons and numerous disinformation actions, Russia uses international organizations as platforms for interpreting in its own interests criminal acts against neighboring countries and outright crimes against humanity. Russia’s actions are destructive and negatively affect the security and stability of neighboring countries, both the Black Sea region and Europe as a whole.
- In fact, the waters of the Sea of Azov have become more dangerous than the coast of Somalia. The Kerch bridge blocks the Azov Strait. Accordingly, fewer vessels can overcome the artificial obstacle, and some ships are periodically detained. The OSCE should fully implement its mandate in the Black and Azov Seas to ensure the realization of the rights of Ukrainian seafarers in connection with Russian aggression. About 20,000 Ukrainian sailors and fishermen in Crimea do not have access to legal documents and do not have free access to courts that deal with labor issues.
- At the level of international institutions, the necessary package of sanctions against the Russian Federation that would correspond to the scale of Russia’s international crimes and would be sufficient to force the Kremlin to reconsider its chosen foreign policy course has not been used. As a result, aggression and war crimes have become the norm for the Putin regime’s policy of terror. Serious international crimes, accompanied by violence against countries, peoples and individuals, have become commonplace for the Russian authorities.
Тhe world community, including authoritative international organizations such as the UN, PACE and OSCE, should take more effective measures that will force Russia to choose a peaceful path: strengthening sanctions against certain sectors of the economy and limiting Russia’s participation in various international governmental organizations, both global and regional. Russia can only be forced into peace, and Crimea is the key to peace in the region.
In this context, the book “Crimea Behind the Curtain. Guide to the Occupied Zone “reinforces the statements of diplomats with concrete facts and evidence.
Volunteers of the international intelligence community InformNapalm thank the Ukrainian diplomats and representatives of Ukrainian delegations for the high appreciation of the quality of research and materials on the Russian aggression in Crimea and the Donbas, as well as for bringing these materials to the highest political levels.
Translated by George Pinchuk, edited by Max Alginin. Distribution and reprint with reference to the source are welcome! (Creative Commons — Attribution 4.0 International — CC BY 4.0) InformNapalm social media pages: Facebook / Twitter / Telegram
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