US State Department Demands Release of Extremist Organization Leader in Crimea

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23 August 2021, Ukraine, Kiev: President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky holds a speech during the Crimea Summit. Photo: -/Ukrinform/dpa
23 August 2021, Ukraine, Kiev: President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky holds a speech during the Crimea Summit. Photo: -/Ukrinform/dpa

The US State Department has condemned the detention of Nariman Dhezlal, the first deputy chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (banned in Russia as an extremist organization), and called on Moscow to free him.

Dhezlal was detained over the weekend along with four other locals, lawyer Emil Kurbedinov, who represents the interests of the families of the detainees, has told Sputnik.

“The United States strongly condemns the September 4 detention of the Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, Nariman Dhezlal, and at least 45 other Crimean Tatars by Russian occupation authorities in Crimea. We call on the Russian occupation authorities to release them immediately,” a statement issued overnight Monday read.

The US continues its support to Ukraine in terms of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, which it reiterated on the so-called Crimean Platform, held in Kiev on August 23 and aimed at gathering international support for Ukraine in its desire to challenge the peninsula’s reunification with Russia, the statement added.

Moscow denounced the Platform as a Russophobic event and warned the countries which participated in the forum against the deterioration of bilateral ties.

Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014 after a referendum determined that more than 95% of the peninsula’s voters were in favor of reunification. Most Western countries sided with Ukraine in refusing to recognize the referendum’s results.

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