Estonian delegation to take part in inaugural event of Crimea Platform
An Estonian delegation, made up of President Kersti Kaljulaid, Riigikogu foreign affairs committee chairman Marko Mihkelson, Riigikogu Estonia-Ukraine parliamentary group president Mati Raidma and PACE delegation member Raivo Tamm will take part in the inaugural event of the Crimea Platform on Wednesday.
The delegation will also take part in the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine and visit Ukraine's marine border near Mariupol.
Mihkelson said that the objective of the Crimea Platform is to ensure the end of occupation in Crimea, which makes it an extremely welcome initiative. "Even on the 30th anniversary of restoring independence in Ukraine, the international community should continue keeping a sharp eye on the situation in Crimea, and condemn the illegal annexation of the region by Russia," he said.
"The platform gives the democratic community the opportunity to come together in support of the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine," Mihkelson added.
On Monday, the schedule of the delegation includes participation in the expert forum of the Crimea Platform, to discuss the rights of the Crimean Tatars, reintegration of Crimea, non-recognition of annexation, and security threats in the Azov Sea and Black Sea region. They will also take part in the extraordinary session of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada and a cultural program dedicated to the inauguration of the Crimea Platform.
On Tuesday, the visit will continue with the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine. On Wednesday, they are to visit Mariupol and the marine border areas in the vicinity of the town.
President Kaljulaid: Territorial integrity of Ukraine needs to be restored
President Kersti Kaljulaid visited the Crimean administrative border in Ukraine on Sunday and said it should not be forgotten that Ukraine is still partially occupied and there is an ongoing war in the Eastern part of Ukraine.
"The territorial integrity of Ukraine must be restored and until it has happened, the topic has to be raised continuously so that the situation of Ukraine will also not be forgotten elsewhere in the world. It is crucial that the Minsk agreements will be honored and that other countries would stand jointly behind sanctions against Russia," Kaljulaid added.
The president said the situation regarding fundamental freedoms has continuously degraded in Crimea over the last seven years. "Many Ukrainian citizens living in Crimea have been forced to leave the peninsula to protect themselves and their families," the president noted.
"At the same time, hundreds of thousands of re-settlers are arriving from Russia under the relocation policy. Russia continues to expand its military presence in Crimea, jeopardizing the security of Ukraine and the rest of the Black Sea region," she said.
President Kaljulaid was the first Estonian president to visit the Crimean administrative borderline in Ukraine to get an overview of the situation there. The president is on a working visit to Ukraine until Tuesday, also participating in the Crimean platform summit and the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the restoration of the independence of Ukraine.
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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste