Crimea: Two Years of Russian Occupation

In this photo taken on Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Simferopol, Crimea, young Tatars with the Crimean Tatars blue flags light candles in a form of their Crimean Tartar peoples' symbol during a rally requiem " Light a flame in my heart " to commemorate the 71st anniversary of Soviet dictator Stalin's ma

In March, 2014, the corrupt former-President of Ukraine abandoned his office and the people of Ukraine chose a future based on the values of democracy, free trade, and the rule of law. Russia responded with military force, seizing and occupied Crimea — sovereign Ukrainian territory — and staging an illegal, so-called “referendum” in a feeble attempt to justify its actions.

Since then, Russia has instituted repression of a mass scale in Crimea, harassing individuals who oppose Russia’s occupation, driving out independent NGOs, and leading ethnic and religious minorities, including Crimean Tatars, to flee.

We cannot allow the borders of Europe to be redrawn at the barrel of a gun.

We condemn and continue to call for an immediate end to Russia’s occupation of Crimea, which is, and will always remain, a part of Ukraine. Sanctions related to Crimea will remain in place as long as the occupation persists.