Estonia led an informal meeting at the United Nations Security Council in New York on the deteriorating human rights situation in Crimea on Friday
The meeting was chaired by Paul Teesalu, Undersecretary for Political Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia.
Teesalu said: "Russia has drastically curtailed the freedoms of religion and belief, assembly, association and expression."
Teesalu also discussed the worrying situation of the Crimean Tatars, which is attested to by the findings of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
"Members of ethnic and religious minorities, in particular Crimean Tatars, have become targets for illegal persecution, illegal searches, interrogations, and detentions. We call upon Russia to end the oppression of the Crimean Tatar community," he said.
Teesalu drew attention to Russia's increased military presence on the peninsula and the fact that more than 18,000 men have been conscripted into Russian armed forces since the beginning of the occupation.
His full statement can be read here.
Friday's meeting marked six years since the start of the temporary occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
The discussion was organised by the permanent mission of Estonia to the UN alongside the permanent missions of Belgium, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and Ukraine to the UN.
Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said: "Russia's actions in Crimea have to be viewed as a part of the Kremlin's broader strategy to destabilise Ukraine. As an elected member of the UN Security Council, Estonia has committed itself to being the persistent voice that keeps the Security Council focused on events in Ukraine. Yesterday's meeting was an excellent demonstration of this. Estonia supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders and will never recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea."
The informal meeting also included presentations by Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights at the UN Human Rights Office in New York, Anton Korynevych, Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in Crimea, Refat Çubarov, Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, and Olga Skrypnyk, Head of the Crimean Human Rights Group. Members of the UN Security Council and other UN member states also made statements.
Editor: Helen Wright