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20:02, 22 September, 2023

In The Pursuit Of The "Crimean Platform"

13 October 2020, 18:45
Nariman UstaievDirector-General of Gasprinsky Institute for Geostrategy

When making decisions aimed at restoring Ukraine's state sovereignty over Crimea, it is necessary to be guided by the logic of the global political, security, and economic landscapes, taking into account that such processes do not start from scratch.

Today it is obvious that protocol meetings, linear solutions, and declarative statements will not help in the de-occupation of Crimea. They are only abstractions, security arithmetic.

It is necessary to find answers to the question, what international actors who can support Ukraine's policy of restoring its sovereignty and territorial integrityneed.

Are the foreign policy, security, and economic interests of other countries in line with the national interests of Ukraine?

Are key international actors interested in restoring peace in Ukraine? What alternatives do they have to our proposals?

And that makes security algebra for the protection of Ukraine's national interests.

With which international partners will Ukraine design and launch a "Crimean aircraft"?

Recently, there have been increasing statements about the prospects of establishing a "Crimean platform." At the same time, the very idea of ​​elaborating a strategy for the de-occupation of Crimea is not new. There have been discussions of the proposals to create an international format for negotiations on Crimea for more than five years. Therefore, it is necessary to get away from the sacralisation of "talks about Crimea" and move to real steps, including with the support of international partners. Specific state decisions aimed at resolving the Crimean issue should strengthen the relevant statements of the Ukrainian side.

The results of voting of states in the UN General Assembly could serve as a litmus test for the prospects of their involvement in the "Crimean platform". Since 2014 the UN General Assembly has so far adopted seven resolutions on Crimea, with two more under consideration.

The Chinese Communist Party has never supported Ukraine in the UN vote. Therefore, the gratitude of the authorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine to the Chinese side "for a firm political position on the issue of Crimea" makes little sense. Let alone the gross human rights violations and persecution of Uighurs, namely, on ethnic and confessional grounds, by official Beijing.

Moreover, there are some challenges to the support of Ukraine in the UN by the member states of the Turkic Council, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposes to use as the platform for advocacy of the Crimea de-occupation.

The Crimean Tatar people in the cultural and civilisational dimension are part of the larger Turkic superethnos. From time immemorial there have been friendly relations between our peoples, we are proud of the contribution of the representatives of the Turkic peoples to the development of world literature, art, culture, and science.

When it comes to the Turkic Council as an interstate format, one should take into account that we have different views on democracy, international law, as well as issues of morality in international relations.

Ukraine is a democratic state, an example for many former Soviet Union countries. At the same time, the regimes of post-Soviet member states of the Turkic Council have their understanding of human rights and still maintain the vestiges of Moscow's colonial policy while sharing the geopolitical and geoeconomic projects with Russia.

International partners should help Ukraine achieve its goals, not bring it down. A prominent example is Ukraine's interaction with the Republic of Turkey, which is the only member of the Turkic Council, which is the consistent ally in defending Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Azerbaijan supported Ukraine by voting for the UN General Assembly resolution "On the Territorial Integrity of Ukraine" in 2014. Other states, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, as well as Turkmenistan (the last one intends to become a member of the above-mentioned organisation), either voted against, abstained, or their representatives left the meeting room during the vote in the UN General Assembly.

Thus, the question arises: what is the point in guiding Ukraine's foreign policy efforts on Crimea in a direction that will be definitely ineffective? Furthermore, Russia intends to increase its presence in the Turkic Council. Therefore, inviting such states as China or Central Asian countries to advocate the "Crimean issue" seems like another «Trojan horse» operation. International partners should help Ukraine meet its objectives, not bring it down.

What does the formula for a comprehensive Crimean settlement imply?

While negotiating with foreign partners, Ukrainian officials should state the following: we have done everything in our power on the Crimean issue so far. Now Ukraine needs international assistance to unlock the process.

It is necessary to consider the process of de-occupation of Crimea through the lens of international law, security realities, and historical justice. At the same time, it should be clearly understood that the solution to the Crimean problem is intertwined with addressing other issues of the Crimean Tatar people, including ensuring conditions for their comprehensive development not only in Crimea but also in Ukraine as a whole. And it is what the formula for a comprehensive Crimean settlement implies.

In fact, among other things, ignoring the Crimean Tatar issues paved the way towards Russian aggression and occupation of Crimea.

In order to communicate the above-mentioned position to the international partners, the theory of concentric circles can be used.

First of all, the positions of the subjects of the national political process regarding the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol should be finally harmonised. There is a need to define Crimea as the Crimean Tatar national-territorial autonomy within Ukraine at the constitutional level.

Secondly, it is necessary to engage our foreign partners, first of all, the United States, Canada, the UK, Poland, the Baltic States, and Turkey, to the process of a comprehensive Crimean settlement. Its "alpha and omega" is the future of the Crimean Tatar people. It is crucial to reach the international recognition of the genocide of the Crimean Tatar people by the Russian Empire, Soviet Union and modern Russian authorities.

Last but not least, there is a need to invite other interested international actors, states, and international organisations to join the initiative.

Our allies are those states for which democracy, human rights, freedom of speech, and justice are an integral part of public and political life.

The focus of the "Crimean platform" should be on such issues as critical infrastructure security; cybersecurity; the militarisation of Crimea; freedom of navigation in the Azov-Black Sea region and the Kerch Strait; Russia's use of Crimea to achieve its military-strategic goals not only in the Black Sea but further in the Mediterranean region; ecological security of Crimea; as well as impossibility for Ukraine to use its resources of the continental shelf. Human rights, the fight against organised crime, money laundering, and the illicit trafficking of drugs and weapons also requires daily attention.

All these issues should be part of a joint "Crimean platform." And only then, having a comprehensive vision, it is necessary to identify areas and work in each direction separately.

Ukraine should explain to potential partners the real benefits of their participation in the "Crimean Platform" and the role of Crimea in the creation of security space in Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus, Azov-Black Sea, and Mediterranean regions, and articulate the formula: de-occupation of Crimea is an indispensable prerequisite for dealing with security challenges in the above-mentioned regions.

Comprehension of this will pave the way for the successful achievement of the foreign policy goals of Ukraine.

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