The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine condemns the facts of human rights violations in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukraine) caused by the restrictive measures imposed by the Russian Federation to struggle against the spread of coronavirus infection COVID-19.

Citizens of Ukraine who permanently live in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and who have illegally and forcibly received Russian passports from the occupation administration are allowed to leave the temporarily occupied territory only once. That restricts their right to freedom of movement.

Crimean residents who have refused to get a Russian passport are considered foreigners and can only leave without the possibility of coming back to Crimea.

Such restrictions imposed by the Russian occupation authorities are contrary to international law norms, in particular paragraph 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, which clearly states that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.

At the same time, the occupation authorities did not impose sanitary restrictions on communication with the regions of the Russian Federation itself, which are significantly affected by COVID-19, in particular, air communication with Moscow was not stopped. Massive military and propaganda activities were held, including training, combat training, and construction near ​​Omega Bay and at Belbek Airport, which became the centre of the infection spread, a parade on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the victory on 24.June in Simferopol.

This mode of movement creates significant obstacles for young people who choose Ukrainian higher education. Applicants who went to the mainland of Ukraine to take exams or submit documents for entering institutes of higher education, as well as their accompanying parents, after returning to Crimea and until the end of quarantine restrictions, will not be able to leave the temporarily occupied territory.

It is obvious that the restrictions imposed under the reason of the struggle against the spread of a new coronavirus disease are illegal, artificial and aimed at further isolation of the temporarily occupied territories from Ukraine, consolidation of the occupation regime, and continuation of a blatant violation of international law norms.

The deteriorating of situation with human rights in the Russian-occupied territory of the Crimean Peninsula urges increased opposition from the international community.

The Russian Federation is obliged to comply with international law norms, including ending the practice of imposing Russian citizenship. It should protect the lives and health of the people of the temporarily occupied territories, and end further human rights attacks under quarantine measures.

Natalia Tolub

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