By Rostyslav Averchuk
Lviv, Ukraine, Sep 28 (EFE).- Ukraine has accused Russia of disproportionately drafting Crimean Tartar in a calculated move to “destroy” the ethnic minority population in the Russian-annexed peninsula.
The head of the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office for Crimea, Igor Ponochovnyi, on Wednesday said Russia was committing “yet another war crime against the Ukrainian citizens” by conducting mobilization in Crimea.
He referred to the article 51 of the Geneva Conventions, underlining that it prohibits the occupying power “from forcing the civilian population of the occupied territory to serve in its armed forces.”
Ponochovnyi said in a statement that especially large numbers of mobilization summons have been issued in areas with large concentrations of Crimean Tatars.
According to Tamila Tasheva, the Ukrainian presidency’s permanent representative for Crimea, at least 1,500 mobilization summons have been issued to members of the Turkic ethnic minority.
Russian authorities have been going from home to home, as well as to workplaces, mosques and other public places in multiple settlements in the districts of Dzhankoy, Sudak and Bakhchysarai, she said.
Around 100 orders were given to the Crimean Tatars in the town of Zuya, including local school teachers. In some cases, men were loaded onto trucks and transported directly to the recruitment centers.
Despite assurances from the Russian-appointed head of the region Sergiy Aksionov that the “partial” mobilization had ended Sunday, the NGO Crimea SOS continues to receive reports of mass raids and draft summons being issued to Crimean Tatars, according to Yevgeniy Yaroshenko, an analyst with the organization.
Yaroshenko added in comments to Efe that the mobilization summons have been issued to people with serious health problems, even those of 60 years of age and those who have multiple children.
Tasheva is certain that “this is a deliberate punishment of the Crimean Tatars” by the occupation administration and the Kremlin for refusing to support Russia and opposing its invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement, she claims that the mobilization in Crimea is an attempt “to destroy the Crimean Tatars” and calls it a “catastrophe” for the ethnic group of between 250,000-350,000 people.
According to her, at least 159 residents of the annexed peninsula have died so far in the Russo-Ukrainian war.
According to Crimea SOS, about 100,000 mobilization summons have been issued in Crimea since 2014. About 60% of them have been issued to Crimean Tatars who represent about 13-15% of the population of the region.
The NGO and Ukrainian officials have urged Crimean Tatars to avoid mobilization at all costs by hiding out and refusing to accept summons. They have also advised the population to leave the peninsula.
Efe has had access to a dedicated Telegram channel with more than 17,000 members, which was created on September 23 following the mobilization announcement from Russia.
Thousands of messages have appeared over the last few days with members asking for advice on how to leave the peninsula with most seeking to leave for Kazakhstan, Georgia or the EU countries.EFE