Russian citizens who came to the Crimean peninsula after its illegal annexation by Russia should return home to their own cities, Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Tamila Tasheva said at a briefing on Sept. 7.
“We appeal to Russian citizens who illegally arrived and stayed in occupied Crimea,” she said.
“Yes, it’s warm and very soulful in Crimea. But everyone who came to our territory illegally, we’re already asking you to go back to your home in Tyumen, Elista, Saransk, Irkutsk, or wherever you came from. Go, even if you don’t want to.”
Tasheva said that Crimea would be de-occupied, and this is Ukraine’s right and duty.
“Since the first day of the occupation, Crimea has been involved in the war that started back in 2014,” the official said.
“It started with Crimea, it will end with Crimea, and with the path that Ukraine chooses.”
Tasheva added the Ukrainian authorities have prepared recommendations for Ukrainians on the territory of the peninsula who are waiting for the Armed Forces of Ukraine and who “are already helping our special bodies.”
The Representative Office of the President of Ukraine in Crimea have published 24 recommendations for the civilian population on how to act during de-occupation and possible hostilities on the territory of the peninsula.
“Ukraine is waging a conventional war, our armed forces won’t shell civilian objects, but we ask you to move as far away from military facilities as possible,” Tasheva said.
Earlier Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the President’s Office, warned Crimean residents about the need to prepare for evacuation to avoid casualties among the civilian population.
He announced that Ukraine was preparing for the “active de-occupation” of Ukraine’s Crimea, which has been under Russian military occupation since 2014.
Ukrainian national rail operator Ukrzaliznytsia has announced it is launching a program to evacuate Ukrainian citizens living in the temporarily occupied Crimea. Crimeans will be able to use trains from Zaporizhzhya, Kryvyi Rih and Odesa.
Several powerful blasts hit a Russian air base near the village of Novofedorivka in the west of Crimea on Aug. 9.
U.S. media later reported Ukraine was behind the attack, although Kyiv officially denies responsibility.
The next day, Ukraine’s General Staff announced the destruction of nine Russian planes as a result of the blasts.
Forbes later reported that between eight and 24 Russian aircraft were destroyed by the explosions.
Explosions were heard again in Russian-occupied Crimea a week later, on Aug. 16. In the morning, an ammunition depot exploded near the village of Azovske in the Dzhankoy district, and a fire broke out at an electricity transformer station in Dzhankoy itself.
In the following days, explosions were heard in Kerch, Sevastopol, Yevpatoria, Bakhchisarai, and several other cities, including near military facilities and airfields. The occupation authorities assure that the air defense system has been activated and claim to have downed drones.
The attack on the Belbek military airfield near Sevastopol was one of the most significant ones.