Virtual museum of Russian aggression.

Virtual museum of Russian aggression.

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Information references

Conflict changes people's everyday lives, it also changes their language. New concepts, metaphors, formal and informal vocabulary appear. In addition, speech becomes a field and an instrument of war at the same time. In order to make the language of the conflict clear, we keep information reference.

Antonov Airport

Antonov Airport - international cargo airport in the suburbs of Kyiv, located 25 kilometers northwest of the capital of Ukraine, near the village of Hostomel. The airfield is used by the Ukrainian cargo airline "Antonov Airlines", and also serves as a base for flight tests of the "Antonov" aircraft construction concern. This is the only place in Ukraine where the world's largest transport aircraft An-124-100 "Ruslan" and An-225 "Mriya" are based. The first strikes of Russian aviation destroyed the flight control center, administrative buildings, other infrastructure of the airfield and the flight test base. The aggressor was primarily interested in the transit potential of the airport and the possibility of performing the role of a bridgehead for an attack on Kyiv. Technical characteristics of the airport runway (concrete surface, length –3500 meters, width – 56 meters) allow it to provide take-off and landing of all known aircraft, which was the reason for the strategic interest in "Antonov" of the Russian military command. 

Environmental offenses in Crimea

Environmental situation on the peninsula and in the adjacent sea has been deteriorating since 2014. Numerous facts of pollution of the ground, air and water have been recorded and may be attributed to unlawful, extensive management practices, improper storage of chemical and nuclear weapons, deployment and training of the Russian military personnel in the natural reserves of Crimea or in the proximity of industrial zones, etc. Despite the international sanctions, powerful sources of environmental pollution, such as chemical plants, including Crimea TITAN, continue their operation.

Under the international humanitarian laws, the Russian Federation is bound by a number of obligations, specifically concerning the environmental conditions within the occupied territories. Actions and negligent attitude of the occupying state violate Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – Right to respect for private and family life, as well as Article 10 – Freedom of expression, which also protects the right for information.

Since 2016, the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol has been conducting a pre-trial investigation on the grounds of a criminal offense under Part 2 Article 364 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine regarding the illegal disposal of waste produced by the Crimea TITAN plant (CJSC Ukraine Chemical Products) in Kherson Oblast. Other regional enterprises (Perekop Bromine Plant and Crimean Soda Plant) are being investigated in the context of environmental crimes, which requires expert examinations to be carried out in the occupied territory. All in all, 6 criminal proceedings are ongoing with regard to 20 counts of environmental pollution and illegal mining in the temporarily occupied territory of the Crimean peninsula. These lawless acts are qualified under Articles 236, 240, 241, 243, 252, 441 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

Ethnic persecution in Crimea

Persecution against any identifiable group or community on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, or other grounds are recognized as offenses under international law (Article 7(1)(h), Rome Statute of the ICC). Since the beginning of the occupation, this norm has been systemically violated in Crimea, including with respect to the indigenous people – the Crimean Tatars.

Persecution of members of the Mejlis on formally unrelated charges is a typical case of double standards aimed at discrediting the Crimean Tatar political movement and its leaders. Criminal cases against Mustafa Dzhemilev, Refat Chubarov, Ilmi Umerov, Akhtem Chiygoz and others were effectively cases against the Mejlis. In this manner, active members were forced to leave Crimea.

 

Persecution of the Mejlis and criminal cases against its leaders were accompanied by a propaganda campaign aimed at discrediting the Crimean Tatars and accusing the people of "betrayal", even "historical works" were used to support the claims. The repressions against the indigenous people continued in the form of regular mass searches in the houses of the Crimean Tatars and persecution under the Hizb ut-Tahrir case. With the occupation of Crimea by Russia, the word "terrorism" was for the first time applied in the peninsula. This accusation against the Muslims of Crimea carried the signs of persecution on religious, racial and ethnic grounds by the occupiers. In addition, such public accusations fuelled inter-ethnic tensions in the society and created risks of violence against the Crimean Tatars not only by the occupation authorities, but also by the residents of Crimea. They also normalized the established practice of the regime's violence against the indigenous people.

Offenses in the field of protection of cultural heritage In Crimea

Cultural heritage of Ukraine in Crimea has been in danger since the first days of the occupation of the peninsula by the Russian Federation. According to the modern treaty law and the general international law, as well as the national laws of Ukraine, all the items of cultural value that were and are now on the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimean peninsula belong to Ukraine. Under the provisions of the Hague Convention, Russia as an occupying state, is obliged not only to refrain from any illegal actions in relation to cultural objects, but also to help representatives of the state to which they belong (which is Ukraine) to ensure their safety. "... a Party in occupation of the whole or part of the territory of another Party shall prohibit and prevent in relation to the occupied territory: a) any illicit export, other removal or transfer of ownership of cultural property;  b) any archaeological excavation, save where this is strictly required to safeguard, record or preserve cultural property; c) any alteration to, or change of use of, cultural property which is intended to conceal or destroy cultural, historical or scientific evidence" (Article 9 of the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict).

The occupation authority boasts of generous amounts it allocates for preservation of cultural heritage sites, but carries it out in a specific way: the Russian Federation is integrating the Crimean cultural heritage into the all-Russian pool, thereby decontextualizing it. It also attempts to use the symbolic capital of the Crimean monuments to justify or disguise its aggression against Ukraine.

Violations in this sphere are specifically observed in Crimea, such as:

- changes in ownership of immovable and movable objects comprising the cultural heritage (or transfer of ownership to third parties)

- illicit relocation of a movable part of cultural heritage from the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or the city of Sevastopol to the Russian Federation or to other countries;

- illicit conduct of archaeological research on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or the city of Sevastopol.

- loss of individual elements affecting the authenticity of the item or object (specifically by way of reconstruction and erection of superstructures).


According to the experts in the sphere of monument protection, cultural heritage has suffered the biggest exposure to gross violation of international humanitarian laws. Human rights organizations dealing the occupied Crimea and the uncontrolled territories of Luhansk Oblast and Donetsk Oblast mostly focus on human rights violations, which is certainly important. Considering the extent of violations, ranging from persecution, torture, enforced disappearances, sexual abuse and gender-based violence, to over a million and a half of internally displaced persons, as well as lack of capacity at most part of the state bodies in terms of availability experts and logistics to respond to their volume and complexity, one could reasonably expect the matters of cultural heritage to be treated as a lower priority.

Violation of educational rights in Crimea

On the eve of the occupation, 660 schools functioned in the ARC and Sevastopol, 8 of which had Ukrainian-language status (7 across the autonomy and 1 in Sevastopol) and 15 had Crimean Tatar-language status. All schoolchildren studied the Ukrainian language, total of 13,300 students were taught in Ukrainian and 5,500 in the Crimean Tatar language.

The aggressor state liquidated practically all Ukrainian-language educational institutions within the temporarily occupied territories, most of which had been organized on the initiative and through efforts of the Ukrainian public. The absolute majority of almost 400 Ukrainian-language classes that used to function in Crimea in the 2013/2014 academic year were also liquidated.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, as of the end of 2019, the number of students who studied in Crimea in the Ukrainian language decreased 150 times compared to the pre-occupation period. At the beginning of 2014, 7.3% of schoolchildren in the ARC studied in Ukrainian, and in the 2020/2021 academic year there remained only 0.1% of them (214 students). Within the temporarily occupied territory, Russia carries on with a policy promoting the assimilation of ethnic Ukrainians. Notably, there are no Ukrainian-language schools in the Russian Federation, despite the presence of a large Ukrainian diaspora that counts several million people. Their goal in Crimea is to change the civic identity of the local Ukrainian citizens. According to Eskender Bariev, member of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, 9 out of 16 schools in Crimea lost their Crimean Tatar-language status they used to have before the Russian occupation (becoming rather Russian-language or Russian/Crimean Tatar-language).

Over 2014-2021, Russia has increased militarization of the entire education system of the temporarily occupied Crimea on every level – from kindergartens to secondary schools and higher educational institutions. In a matter of just several years, the number of paramilitary classes has more than tripled (in Simferopol alone – from 12 classes in 2016 to 40 in 2019). The system of formal and non-formal education aims to promote Russian identity among the Crimean children and youths, promulgating the idea of participation in the wars unleashed by Russia as some kind of a sacred duty of every citizen, not to mention the hands-on military training of students to prepare them for their future involvement in hostilities. According to the experts, from 200 to 300 thousand young citizens of Ukraine were involved in various militaristic activities, which pretty much covers all schoolchildren and students in Crimea.

Violation of freedom of speech and expression in Crimea

According to the prosecutor's office of the autonomy, the number of media outlets on the peninsula effectively decreased 13 times from 3000 (as of the beginning of 2014) to 232 (as of spring 2015). A number of media, in particular, the Center for Investigative Journalism and the Radio Liberty project Crimea.Realities, were listed by the Russian Federation as extremist. A France Press news agency correspondent received a warning from the so-called "Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Crimea" for "extremist views" because she criticized the illegal detention of Crimean Tatars on her social media page.

From 2014 to 2021, the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol initiated 22 criminal proceedings on at least 43 counts of violation of the rights of journalists and other media representatives on the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea peninsula. At least one third of these cases were initiated for obstruction of the legitimate professional activities of journalists.

Investigations of several episodes established that members of the illegal "Self-Defense of Crimea" armed groups were direct perpetrators of the crimes against journalists. In particular, there were facts of illegal detentions of the correspondent of the Polish edition of Gazeta Wyborcza, the operator of the French TV channel Canal+, journalists of the Crimean Tatar media holding ATR.

Thirteen indictments on offenses against media workers have been issued. In addition to the "self-defenders", among the suspects there were also former employees of the Security Service of Ukraine, who defected to the side of the aggressor state and joined the FSB of the Russian Federation, as well as judges of the occupation courts who passed sentences against journalists and public bloggers.

At the same time, in February 2021, the Prosecutor's Office of the autonomy together with the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union sent the tenth information notice to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The notice lists the aforementioned facts of persecution of media representatives by the occupying state and its occupation administration in Crimea.