Once the Government of Ukraine restores the control over Crimea, the Ukrainian authorities will deport all citizens of the Russian Federation, who moved to the territory of the peninsula illegally (bypassing the official Ukrainian border, entry-exit checkpoints).

“They are not citizens of Ukraine. They came either voluntarily or by force. But they are, in fact, accomplices in this crime committed by official Russia, the official Kremlin. Therefore, their fate … I do not like the word ‘deportation’ as it carries the spirit of the Stalinist regime. However, the Ukrainian law provides for expulsion from the country. This is the right of any country,” Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories Oleksiy Reznikov said.

He reminded that the Strategy for the De-occupation and Reintegration of Crimea had been approved at the meeting of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine. The main message of the document is that the citizens of Ukraine living in the occupied territories “are hostages of circumstances, hostages of the occupiers.” Therefore, once the Government of Ukraine restores the control over the territories, the residents, who did not violate Ukrainian legislation, will have nothing to fear.

“They must believe that Ukraine will return, and they will have no problems in a free Ukraine, in a democratic, liberal one, in contrast to the horror in which they live now. They will not be illegally searched, arrested, and banned from gathering on the streets to express their opinions… [There will be] no curfew, no [need to hide in] basements, unlike in the occupied territories now. That’s why, they definitely don’t need to be afraid,” Reznikov assured.

He noted that Russia had been actively trying to change the ethnic composition of the Crimean population in recent years. According to Russian statistics, about 100,000 Russians have arrived on the peninsula. At the same time, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry claimed in October last year that there were significantly more unofficial “migrants” – about half a million.

Bohdan Marusyak

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