Ukrainian PM slams Russia’s outlawing of Crimea Mejlis

KIEV (AA) – Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman has slammed Russia’s outlawing of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis.

“Russia made another nonsense decision. The so-called ‘supreme court’ in the annexed Crimea prohibited the activities of the Mejlis,” Groysman wrote on Facebook, adding that such acts “can only strengthen our support for the Crimean Tatars”.

The assembly of Crimea’s Tatars, known as the Mejlis, was banned by the Supreme Court of Crimea Tuesday as an “extremist organization” following a prosecution application lodged in February.

“The non-government organization Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people has now been recognized as extremist,” said prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya, as reported by Russia’s government-run TASS news agency.

“That is, its activity is banned in the Russian Federation in general. Any actions will be assessed as illegal. If the Mejlis members or its representatives conduct any activity contrary to the court ruling, they will be brought to responsibility.”

The Russian Justice Ministry has already put the organization on a list of banned groups, TASS said.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, as well as the Turkish Foreign Ministry, described the move as a “violation of human rights” and part of a continued campaign of “intimidation and oppression.”

Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary-general of the Council of Europe, also condemned the court’s decision, as did EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

“I am sure the international community will evaluate this incident correctly,” Ukraine’s PM Groysman said.

“Crimea will return to Ukraine, whether the Kremlin wants it or not, and the Mejlis will be free.”

Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in March 2014. Since then, the region’s Tatar minority has complained of repression, including arbitrary arrests and detentions.