Russians will flee Crimea, Ukrainians there will rejoice with approach of Ukrainian army, says Mejlis member

13 November 2022, 09:10 PM
Cars queue for the ferry after the explosion on the Kerch Bridge, Crimea. October 8, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Stringer)

Cars queue for the ferry after the explosion on the Kerch Bridge, Crimea. October 8, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Stringer)

Residents of Crimea will be just as pleased to greet the Ukrainian army as the people in the city of Kherson, Eskender Bariev, a member of the Mejlis, or parliament, of the Crimean Tatar people, said in an interview Radio NV on Nov. 13.

The Ukrainian Crimean Tatar politician said there are three categories of people living in Crimea. The first is the pro-Ukrainian part of the population, which has not disappeared in more than eight years of occupation.

The second category, according to Bariev, is made up of collaborators:

"These are citizens of Ukraine who began to support the Russian Federation and its actions on the territory of Ukraine, that is, the so-called ‘military operation,’” he said.

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“But their position is constantly changing. On the one hand, there are collaborators who will flee Crimea. And there are collaborators who will say ‘we worked there, now we will work in Ukraine.’”

The third category of people living in the occupied peninsula are Russian citizens. Bariev explained that there are two-and-a-half times more of them than the entire population of Crimean Tatar people living in Crimea.

More than 600,000 (Russians) arrived,” said the politician.

“They violated international law, the standards of Ukraine — they came illegally. ... When they hear that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are approaching the borders of Crimea, they will begin to leave (Crimea) more actively, in my opinion. They will not stay in Crimea.”

Russia invaded and started to occupy Ukraine’s Crimea in February and March of 2014. Many of pro-Ukrainian residents left after the Russian invasion, and Russia – in violation of international law – began to move its own citizens into the occupied territories.

It used Crimea as a jumping-off point for its invasion of the southern part of Ukraine, but its invasion forces stalled before reaching the southern Ukrainian cities of Mykolaiv and Odesa. It was only able to capture the city of Kherson, but was forced to retreat from there on Nov. 11 as Ukrainian forces closed in on the city.

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