Russian-Occupation Authorities Cleanse Information Landscape in Crimea

occupation of the Russian Federation of Crimea

Ukraine calls on the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro to respond more actively to corresponding violations committed by the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied Crimea and in the territories of Donbas not controlled by the Government of Ukraine.

Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to International Organisations in Vienna, made a relevant statement during an online meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council.

The diplomat pointed out that the active use of the Russian legislation “on counteracting extremism and separatism” as a pretext to ban journalists’ activities, as well as to show trials of journalists and activists disagreeing with the occupation of Crimea, “have in fact completed the process of cleansing the Crimean information landscape of free expression.”

“Even civic journalism – a phenomenon which appeared in response to complete information isolation of the Crimean Peninsula – remains at risk of total elimination by the illegally established repressive Russian bodies,” Ukraine’s Representative to OSCE underlined.

He once again drew the OSCE’s attention to the situation of Crimean Tatar civic journalists Osman Arifmemetov, Marlen Asanov, Remzi Bekirov, Timur Ibragimov, Server Mustafayev, Seyran Saliyev, Amet Suleymanov, Ruslan Suleymanov, and Rustem Scheikhaliev who were illegally detained on politically motivated charges.

Tsymbaliuk also cited an example of an ongoing campaign to intimidate journalists in occupied Crimea – the case of Vladyslav Yesypenko, a freelance journalist working for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s “Crimea.Realities” project.

The Ukrainian diplomat called on the OSCE representatives to continue to address issues that threaten the freedom of the media and expression in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine.

At the same time, Acting Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission to the OSCE Elisabeth Rosenstock-Siller stated at an online meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council that Russia had recently transferred Air Assault elements, armoured vehicles, and artillery to Crimea, although it had announced the withdrawal of troops from the border with Ukraine.

“As part of its broader efforts to destabilise Ukraine and to disrupt regional security, Russia has engaged in a multi-year military buildup in Crimea,” Rosenstock-Siller said.

Furthermore, she noted that Russia had continued to conscript thousands of young residents of Crimea into its military, some of whom had been transferred to Russian military units deployed in eastern Ukraine.

Bohdan Marusyak

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