Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has addressed Ukrainians on the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Crimean Tatar Genocide.
In his May 18 address, he drew parallels with 1944, when Crimean Tatars were subjected to deportation from their homeland, and the crimes that the Russian invaders are committing today in Ukraine, deporting Ukrainians to Russia.
“In 1944, expelling the Crimean Tatars from their land, the then torturers were convinced that none of the displaced would return home to Crimea,” Zelensky said.
“Now, trying to occupy Ukraine and destroy our lives, the current torturers of the people were also convinced that everything would work out for them and that we would not be able to endure it.
“But we endured. And we are struggling to bring life back to every corner of our home. And we are coming back.”
Zelensky added that the Kremlin regime is not only trying to deprive Crimean Tatars of their homes for the second time, but is also taking away the home of all Ukrainians.
“Today, we turn again to what was experienced then,” he said. “And we’re doing this in conditions when the descendants of that tyranny are not only trying to deprive Crimean Tatars of their home for a second time since 2014. They also want to take away the home of the entire multi-million people of Ukraine, all who live on our land.”
During his address, Zelensky also signed a law “On Social and Legal Protection for Persons Deprived of Personal Freedom as a Result of Armed Aggression against Ukraine, and for Members of Their Families.”
According to him, the law is to protect all Ukrainians who have been repressed by the invaders and who have been taken prisoner by them.
“This law is, in particular, for (the Crimean Tatar political prisoner held by Russia) Nariman Celal, and many others who have been deprived of their liberty in Crimea, in their native home,” Zelensky said.
“(It is) for those who are being held in prisons on the peninsula, and who have been deported to Russia. This law is for the relatives and friends of all prisoners of the Kremlin in Donetsk, Luhansk, in all those areas, and in Crimea. For all who have been tormented by the enemy. This is help and protection. And we will definitely restore justice.”
Since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, the Russian military has resorted to forced deportations in the occupied Ukrainian territories, in actions similar to those used by the regime of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin against the Crimean Tatars 78 years ago.