Crimean Tatars seek asylum in Poland
PR dla Zagranicy
A group of 32 Crimean Tatars has reached the Polish border and is seeking refugee status just a day after the Russian State Duma ratified the annexation of the autonomous republic.
A Crimean Tatar prays in a mosque on Wednesday in Simferopol, Crimea. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kaminski
The refugees are understood to have come from Yevpatoria in western Crimea, and they are the largest group of Ukrainian citizens to have requested asylum in Poland this year.
Poland's centuries-old community of Tatars published a resolution earlier this week concerning Russia's bid to annex Crimea.
“We, Polish Tatars and Muslims support the Crimean Tatars' inalienable right to a dignified life in their native land,” they proclaimed a statement released under the auspices of Muslim Religious Association of Poland.
“We express our strong opposition to Russia's imperial actions, which violate all human rights and international law.
The Crimean Tatars, who make up over 10 percent of the Crimean population, had vigorously opposed the referendum held last Sunday over whether the peninsula should become a part of Russia, thus losing its autonomous status within Ukraine.
Crimean Tatar leader Refat Chubarov had called for a boycott of the referendum, the results of which he said were “predetermined.”
Resentment of Russia among Crimean Tatars is deeply rooted, with over close to 200,000 of them deported from the peninsula in 1944 under Joseph Stalin's orders. In the 1980s, it became possible for the Tatars to return to the Crimea from locations such as Uzbekistan.
Meanwhile, acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk has announced on Twitter that he has now signed a political agreement with the EU on Friday in Brussels, paving the way for a full association agreement. (nh)