Abandoning the Black and Azov Seas to russia means leaving them a bridgehead for an attack on Ukraine — Chubarov
We spoke about Crimea, the Kherson and Zaporizhia oblasts, and the liberation of Ukraine with Refat Chubarov, the chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people.
Refat Chubarov: In the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia, there are many cases of violence that one learns about from many different methods. We know that searches are carried out, and people are forcibly taken away and detained in specially prepared places of imprisonment. People’s relatives are intimidated. We do not have objective statistics, but what we do know is telling of the deliberate persecution and extermination of Ukrainian citizens.
«The occupation of Crimea – a reason to prepare for war»
Refat Chubarov: During the 8 years of occupation of Crimea, it was necessary to prepare thoroughly for the most threatening situations that could develop in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions. The experience of Crimea should have prompted the authorities to consider all possible options, including the invasion of Russian troops. If such options were considered, they were not discussed in detail. It seems to me that absolutely no one was prepared for such a development. The civil sector was not ready for it and it hoped for the military sector to be ready.
Newly occupied territories of the south
Refat Chubarov: The situation with the newly occupied territories is different from the occupation of Crimea in 2014. At the time, the events in Crimea took place in the context of absolute powerlessness from the Ukrainian authorities. The army was not ready, the country could barely get out of that bloody confrontation on the Maidan. Then, Russia took advantage of this and all local authorities in Crimea immediately began to follow the instructions of the occupying power. They changed the flags and the essence of their activities. The leadership remained, but it became anti-Ukrainian. Life in the area was regulated by the occupying power. Now in the Kherson region, the Russians are trying to attract Ukrainians to cooperate, but the occupiers themselves have not yet decided what status to give these territories. This complicates their activities.
The Ukrainian authorities are obliged to take care of Ukrainians, especially those in the occupied territories. What will doctors do, the ones who cannot help but treat their patients? Teachers who left, for example, do not have this opportunity. Ukrainian teachers in the Kherson region have not been paid for more than 3 months. What can they do? It is good that there are activists who can step in, but this is a matter of power. The government must give a clear signal on how protect itself and not help the occupiers.
Liberation of Crimea and southern Ukraine
Refat Chubarov: The south of Ukraine is a territory that includes Crimea. When we talk about the liberation of the territories of southern Ukraine, we must understand that it is the Kherson region, part of the Zaporizhia region, and the Crimean Peninsula. The operation to liberate Kherson and Zaporizhia oblasts will be directly tied to the liberation of Crimea. After all, this is the only operational space. This issue is a question of the security of the Ukrainian state for the future.
Leaving the Black and Azov Seas for Russian control means leaving them a bridgehead form which Ukraine will constantly be under rocket fire.
The Russians have already started talking about a truce because they feel the changes that are taking place in their society. In addition, they understand that their military capabilities are weakening.
- It is difficult to predict. Ukraine will definitely win. We will return to Crimea. But when? This can happen very quickly or not at all.