self-proclaimed Crimean Tatar leaders and the coordinator of the
peninsula’s land blockade and power blackout, has claimed that the
Turkish defense ministry is helping with the formation of a Tatar
battalion tasked with sabotage.
a set of interviews to Ukrainian media, Lenur Islyamov who represents
the unregistered organization “Majlis of Crimean Tatars”,
announced that the Turkey is taking an active role in the formation
of the “Tatar
the Crimean frontier” and
carrying out attacks inside the peninsula.
the Ukrainian Defense Ministry still only scratches its head, the
Turkish Defense Ministry has already begun supporting us,” said
Islyamov, adding that Ankara has so far provided the newly-assembled
radical force with boots and uniforms.
volunteer battalion is allegedly relying on “public
far, but soon, Islyamov hopes, the paramilitary structure will be
incorporated into Ukraine’s defense forces.
now have more than a hundred people who have already entered the
battalion as volunteers, but we hope that after all the Ministry of
Defense and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, will create and allow the
Crimean Tatars to have their own national battalion within the armed
said in an to 112 Ukraine TV channel.
hopes that the new force of around 560 fighters will serve as a
“Tatar navy seals” battalion. The main task of the paramilitary
unit will be guerrilla warfare and acts of sabotage inside the
main objective is the protection of the borders of Crimea in
said in the TV interview. “The
objectives of this battalion is to strike everywhere we can. In
Crimea we know all the trails.”
called for the further isolation of Crimea and promised to “liberate
Russia and return the peninsula to Kiev “within
a year.” Islyamov,
who is a Russian citizen, is already being investigated by the
Russian Security Service (FSB) for organizing a ground blockade of
all the strength and resources” could
the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016,” Islyamov
was quoted saying earlier this month, threatening to disrupt ferry
connections across the Kerch Straight, which separates the peninsula
and mainland Russia.
49-year-old self-proclaimed fighter for the Tatar people’s rights
said there are many “interesting
organize a naval blockade of the peninsula, where as an extreme
boats could attack ships that carry goods in Crimea.”
late November, so-called “Tatar
several electricity pylons in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine
and prevented repair crews from restoring energy supplies via two
important power lines leading to Crimea. The power line sabotage
operation left more than 1.8 million people in the Black Sea
peninsula in a blackout.
Russia has begun supplying electricity to Crimea earlier this month
after the first stage of the energy bridge was commissioned weeks
ahead of schedule.
majority of those living in Crimea today are ethnic Russians –
1,200,000 or around 58.3 percent of the population, according
to the last national census conducted back in 2001. Some 24 percent
are Ukrainians (around 500,000) and 12 percent are Crimean Tatars.
However, in Crimea’s largest city of Sevastopol, which is
considered a separate region, there are very few Crimean Tatars.
Around 22 percent are Ukrainians, and over 70 percent of the
population are Russians.
the Majlis is still posing as an official body representing Crimean
Tatars, the interregional public movement Qirim held a conference in
December, renouncing the self-proclaimed leaders. The previous Qirim
congress in summer exposed and rejected an attempt by Majlis to stage
an “international Crimean Tatar conference” in Turkey
drift of Dzhemilev, Chubarov and Islyamov towards cooperation with
extremist groups condemned by the whole progressive world has
deprived them of their right to represent Crimean Tatars. From now
on, all their statements at any forums should be qualified as
personal opinions,” said
a resolution adopted by the congress.