On August 23, 2021, Kiev hosted the founding summit of the diplomatic initiative “Crimea Platform.”
“Launched by the Ukrainian government as a negotiation platform, the Crimea Platform serves the goal of coordinating the actions of Ukraine and its international partners aimed at protection of the rights of Crimeans and deoccupation of the peninsula. A total of 46 participants, representatives of individual states and international organizations took part in the first summit of the Crimea Platform. We take a look at who came to vow their support for the Platform, what statements they made, what the Platform’s joint declaration affirms, and what Ukrainians’ views of the future of the peninsula are,” the founding statement read.
Participating states of the Crimea Platform represented by their presidents were Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, Slovenia, and Finland.
Prime Ministers represented Romania, Georgia, Croatia, and Sweden.
Presidents of the Parliament represented Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
Ministers of Foreign Affairs represented Turkey, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Ireland, Denmark, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and North Macedonia.
Norway was represented by the State Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Defense ministers represented the UK and Portugal.
The President of the European Council and the NATO Deputy Secretary General participated in the summit.
Germany was represented by the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier.
The U.S. was represented by the Secretary of Energy, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, and Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy.
Notably, the heftiest supporter that Ukraine expected was Germany and it sent the economic minister who has little to do with any diplomacy.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made the inauguration speech.
“It’s more than some European countries, than some countries in the world. Our territory was annexed by one of the states – guarantors of Ukraine’s security in accordance with the Budapest Memorandum. One of the member states of the UN Security Council,” he said.
The Head of State noted that under Russian occupation, the Crimean peninsula had become a “powder barrel,” and Moscow had tripled its military presence in Crimea.
“Today, Crimea has turned from a world-famous resort into a military base. It became a springboard for further expansion of the Russian Federation’s influence in the Black Sea region. Crimea has become a territory where human rights and freedoms are grossly and systematically violated,” Volodymyr Zelensky said.
In addition, according to the President, the occupation of Crimea calls into question the effectiveness of the entire international security system, the principles of territorial integrity, and the inviolability of borders.
“Without restoring confidence in it, no state can be sure that it will not become the next victim of the occupation of part of the territory,” the President stressed.
“I will personally do everything possible to return Crimea so that it becomes part of Europe together with Ukraine. To do this, we will use all possible political, legal, and, above all, diplomatic means,” Volodymyr Zelensky said.
He noted that the Crimea Platform should become a center for the development and adoption of key international decisions on Crimea.
“From today, we are actually starting the countdown to the liberation of our land – the Ukrainian peninsula. It is quite possible that August 23, 2021, will go down in history as the day of the beginning of the de-occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. The occupation of the Crimean peninsula began in Moscow. We will definitely start the de-occupation of Crimea in Kyiv. Let’s start,” the Head of State urged.
In response, the press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin considers the “Crimean Platform” an anti-Russian initiative.
He stressed that Moscow does not accept the line promoted by the forum participants regarding the Russian regions.
In Crimea itself, they stressed that this format has no legal force.
“The only practical result of the so-called Crimean platform was a smelly exhaust of lies and Russophobia in the information space. There could not be other results for one simple reason: discussing the return of Crimea to Kiev’s control is like trying to return yesterday or last year’s snow. stupid and hopeless occupation in the world, ” said the head of the Crimea Sergei Aksenov.
In his opinion, the Kiev authorities will talk for a long time about the next “change” in order to distract the country’s population from the catastrophic results of three decades of “independence”.
“This is the apotheosis of Ukrainian international activity. Invite politicians who do not decide anything to a country that is nothing of itself. The decisions made have no legal force and are not needed by anyone,” Oleg Kryuchkov, advisor to the head of Crimea on information policy said.
In his opinion, the forum turned out to be a cover for money laundering.
Russian parliament member Ruslan Balbek called Zelensky’s statement about the “countdown” another heresy.
“Perhaps President Zelensky won a standing ovation with his speech among the participants of the Crimean Platform, but his words are only a personal version of what is happening and the future: let’s say, the author’s fantasies that do not coincide with reality,” he said.
He said that the “Crimean Platform” is a club of hypocrites who tell the president of Ukraine what he wants to hear.
Senator Olga Kovitidi also noted that the summit is a political profanation.
“In Ukraine, it is already clear to everyone that Crimea cannot be returned: this is the people’s choice, and in Crimea, the Ukrainian political Sabbath causes fatigue and regret about the fate of people living in Ukraine and their families,” she said.
Kovitidi also advised Zelensky to focus on fulfilling election promises and ending the fratricidal war in Donbass.
“We, Crimeans, have more questions for the Ukrainian authorities than participants in this forum paid for by the Western masters of Ukraine. to normal houses and apartments, why none of the Ukrainian presidents adopted a decree on the political rehabilitation of the deported peoples and only President Vladimir Putin was able to resolve this issue,” she said.