Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman has slammed Russia's outlawing of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis.
"Russia made another nonsense decision. The so-called ‘supreme court’ in the annexed Crimea prohibited the activities of the Mejlis," Groysman wrote on Facebook, adding that such acts "can only strengthen our support for the Crimean Tatars".
Russia’s Crimean Prosecutor General, Natalia Poklonskaya, claimed on Tuesday that the court, which described the Mejlis as an “extremist” organisation, had banned the Tatars' assembly because its leaders had sought to destabilise Crimea since the takeover.
Ukraine's PM Groysman said, "I am sure the international community will evaluate this incident correctly"
"Crimea will return to Ukraine, whether the Kremlin wants it or not, and the Mejlis will be free."
Russia’s government-run TASS news agency reported as Natalia Poklonskaya saying, “That is, its activity is banned in the Russian Federation in general. Any actions will be assessed as illegal. If the Mejlis members or its representatives conduct any activity contrary to the court ruling, they will be brought to responsibility.”
The Russian Justice Ministry has already added the organization in a list of banned groups, TASS said.
A Russian local court in Crimea’s Simferopol (Akmescit) also issued an arrest warrant for a prominent Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Abdulcemil Kirimoglu, the former chairman of the Crimea Tatar National Assembly (KTMM) in the Russian-annexed peninsula, in late January.
The Ukranian and the Turkish Foreign Ministries described the decision as a "violation of human rights" and part of an ongoing campaign of “intimidation and oppression.”
“We regret and condemn this decision, which is a new manifestation of both the systematic and collective pressure on the Crimean Tatar community, as well as the blows being struck at the fundamental rights and freedoms of the inhabitants of the Peninsula,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary-general of the Council of Europe, and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also condemned the court’s decision.
The Crimean peninsula was annexed by the Russian Federation from Ukraine on March 21, 2014, following a referendum that was held on March 17, against the wishes of international community, including Turkey and Crimea’s native Tatar population. The move has not been recognised internationally.
A recent report prepared by an unofficial delegation of Turkish academics determined, in mid-June 2015, that Crimea’s unrecognised Russian government has purposely and persistently violated the rights and freedoms of the Crimean Tatars following the Russian annexation of the peninsula in March 2014.