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Russian security forces arrest more than 50 people in Crimea

Mass repression of Ukrainians revenge for Crimea Platform, says Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister.

Russian security forces arrested more than 50 people in Crimea, a senior Ukrainian official said late Saturday.

“There are already 50 detainees in Crimea, relatives, friends, activists, including 2 civilian journalists, who came to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) building to enquire into the fate of 5 Crimean Tatars detained shortly before,” Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzheppar said on Twitter.

“Mass repression against Ukrainian citizens is an act of revenge for Crimea Platform,” Dzheppar noted.

Dzheppar said in an earlier statement that a recent series of arrests of Crimean Tatars by Russian authorities constitutes “another wave of repressions in the temporarily-occupied Crimea.”

Citing human rights organizations, she said “occupation authorities” had conducted searches in the homes of Crimean Tatars, abducting five people.

One of those abducted, Nariman Dzhelyal, is a Ukrainian Crimean Tatar politician, journalist, teacher, political scientist, “deputy chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, banned by Russia in 2016,” Dzheppar noted.

Earlier Saturday, President of the Crimean Tatar National Assembly Refat Chubarov confirmed Dzhelyal’s arrest on social media.

The Crimean Platform is a new consultative and coordination format initiated by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the speedy de-occupation of Crimea and to increase pressure on Russia.

Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum.

Russian forces entered the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014 and Russian President Vladimir Putin formally dividing the region into two separate federal subjects of the Russian Federation the following month.

Turkey, as well as the UN General Assembly, viewed the annexation as illegal.

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