The growth of Russia’s military presence in occupied Crimea and its use of the peninsula as base for military operations in Syria and other parts of the region will create far-reaching consequences for Southern Europe, North Africa, and the Near East.
A statement to this effect was made by Ukraine’s permanent ambassador to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko at a session on the militarization of annexed Crimea, Ukrinform reports.
“The occupation and the subsequent militarization of Crimea has far-reaching consequences for security not only in the Black Sea region, but also throughout Southern Europe, as well as in the region of North Africa and the Near East. Current developments in Syria are convincing evidence of this,” the Ukrainian diplomat remarked, referring to Moscow’s support of the Assad regime.
The ambassador to the UN noted that Moscow has chosen the path of escalation and increasing aggression, expanding and deepening it. According to him, Russia’s level of militarization of the Crimean peninsula is “unprecedented”.
Russia continues to systematically violate fundamental rights and freedoms in occupied Crimea, especially those of Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians, and this has been documented by international organizations such as the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe, he stressed.
“The matter of Crimea’s return is and remains an absolute priority of Ukrainian foreign and interior policy,” the Ukrainian representative emphasized.
Yelchenko also drew attention to the recent spread of Russian aggression to the Sea of Azov, which also “threatens stability” in the region. Russia has been impeding navigation in the Sea of Azov, adding to its forces, and creating ecological problems.
“Taking into account the current unstable situation in the area of security, Ukraine intends to submit a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly with the aim of prejudicing Russia against further militarization of Ukraine’s territory and the surrounding regions,” Yelchenko noted.
Recently at the UN General Assembly, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called for further sanctions to be imposed on Russia for attempting to occupy the Sea of Azov.