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The Crimean platform - a carte blanche for the return of Crimea by military means

Photo: Meeting of the second Crimean Platform summit
Source: Office of the President of Ukraine

On August 23, 2022, the second summit of the Crimean Platform took place. This time the event was held online, but this format does not diminish its importance. The initiative, the purpose of which is the consolidation of international policy around the non-recognition of any change in the international legal status of Crimea and increasing pressure on the occupying country,[1] was continued, despite the criticism heard during its creation and despite the efforts of the Russian Federation aimed at disruption of its implementation.

In the domestic political dimension, during the year since the founding summit, Ukraine has adopted a number of initiatives in the direction of the return of Crimea, in particular the adoption of the Strategy for Deoccupation and Reintegration of Crimea and, accordingly, the plan for the implementation of this strategy. The Strategy for the Development of the Crimean Tatar Language for 10 years (2022–2032) was also adopted, as well as The Law of Ukraine "On Indigenous Peoples".[2]

In the foreign policy dimension, the main point was to keep the issue of Crimea on the agenda of the international community. After the strikes of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the peninsula, a new mass information wave about the occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Ukraine has swept the world. Last but not least, thanks to the strikes of the Ukrainian army, the tone of the summit was harsh, different from last year. Carrying strikes right before the platform was a bold move by Ukraine, which encouraged Ukrainian partners to be more active. This time, there were more participants in the Platform. Similar to last year, representatives of European and North American countries, the European Commission and the Council of Europe, NATO and the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people joined the initiative. At the same time, the geography of the platform expanded to include countries from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In particular, Guatemala, Belize, Liberia, Niger, Ghana, Suriname and the Organization of American States took part in the summit. Andorra, Liechtenstein, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the OSCE also participated. In total - 59 participants.

Compared to last year, there is a change in the position of the participating countries regarding the ways of returning the occupied peninsula. If last year the states agreed that the only way to return the occupied peninsula is political and diplomatic, now the vast majority of states perceive and support the possibility of Ukraine's liberation of Crimea by military means. This was facilitated not only by the fact of the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, but also by the strikes of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on military facilities in the occupied Crimea and the absence of Russian reaction to them. Crimea, which was previously considered an impregnable fortress due to saturation with modern Russian air defense systems, was subjected to systematic attacks and sabotage organized by the Ukrainian command during August. After a series of explosions, the Russian leadership once again swallowed the destruction of another myth about the strength of the Russian army. Russians in panic began to leave the peninsula en masse, and shortly after numerous rocket attacks, family members of the local occupation administration also left the Crimea.

It seems that this development of events, together with the refusal to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia by group of countries and organizations, reminded the Russian leadership directly that the peninsula is illegally annexed. All intimidation in the spirit of Dmitry Medvedev's statements was a bluff, in contrast to the position of the main players on the European continent. The speeches of representatives of European countries at the second summit of the Crimean Platform contained assurances of support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, as well as intentions to provide military assistance in order to restore Ukraine's borders as of 1991.

Andrzej Duda was the first among the speaking leaders of the participating countries. The President of Poland stated that it is no longer possible to return to the line that existed on February 23, 2022. "It is necessary to liberate the entire territory of Ukraine, together with Crimea." He also noted that "North Stream - 2" should be dismantled. Andrzej Duda is one of the leaders in supporting Ukraine in Europe, and criticism of the delay in German military aid to Ukraine has become commonplace for Polish politicians.

Poland, together with other Eastern European and Baltic countries, as well as Finland, took a principled position. These states are in favor of a complete refusal to issue visas to Russians, the dismantling of the "Nord Stream", the refusal of Russian gas, and demand further expansion of sanctions against the aggressor state. However, the decision to dismantle the pipeline depends on Germany, and since Berlin is still calling for negotiations with the Russian Federation, it is quite likely that Germany will not dismantle Nord Stream – 2. However, at the Summit of the Crimean Platform, the German Chancellor expressed his intention to continue to provide comprehensive assistance to Ukraine and its citizens affected by Russian aggression. In particular, the chancellor mentioned military aid and Iris air defense systems, which Germany should transfer to Ukraine. Although the process of transferring Bundeswehr weapons to Ukraine is delayed, the country's position has indeed been transformed, and in August Scholz confirmed that his country has nothing against Ukraine's use of German weapons in Crimea. Germany is also focusing on supporting the agricultural sector of Ukraine to ensure food security. According to Olaf Scholz, the country will continue to invest funds in Ukrainian granaries and in the restoration of Ukraine, based on the decisions made in Lugano.

Another leader who spoke at the summit and mentioned food security was Recep Erdogan, the president of Turkey, the country that contributed to the creation of the grain corridor from the Black Sea ports of Ukraine. Unlike the previous summit, this year Erdogan personally expressed his position on non-recognition of the occupation of Crimea. "From the very beginning, Turkey has openly stated that the annexation of Crimea is unconstitutional and illegal, and does not recognize it. This is a principled position for both legal and moral reasons. International law essentially determines that Crimea should return to Ukraine, of which it is an integral part," Erdogan said. He emphasized that the de-occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula is a requirement of international law, as well as an important element of global security and stability.[3] Traditionally, the Turkish president emphasized the priority of ensuring the security and well-being of the Crimean Tatars.

Emmanuel Macron said that the war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine concerns all countries of the world, because it is connected with the destabilization of international law, international order, has humanitarian consequences and consequences in the energy and food spheres. "Our determination remains unchanged. We are ready to continue our efforts in the long term," the French president said. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, in turn, emphasized that the Russian occupation of Crimea in March 2014 was an unacceptable act of aggression, a gross violation of international law, and the struggle for Crimea is part of the struggle for the liberation of Ukraine. "We are with you in your struggle against the invasion of Russia. We are with you in this struggle for the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, the protection of your democracy and independence," he said.

This year, many speeches mentioned the human dimension of the occupation and persecution of Crimean Tatars and pro-Ukrainian inhabitants of the peninsula. Calls for a compromise with Russia were often followed by a disregard for the lives of those who suffered from the Russian occupation, were forced to leave their homes, lost their jobs and businesses, as well as those who were killed, arrested, or tortured by the occupiers. Attention to the violation of human rights on the Crimean platform may contribute to the future prosecution of those guilty of crimes in the entire occupied territory of Ukraine.

The strategy for the reconstruction of Crimea was also presented on the platform. The territory occupied in 2014, like the entire state as a whole, will be a subject to restoration with the support of Ukraine's international partners. The creation of this strategy is not only a signal for organizations, states and businesses that will participate in the restoration of Ukraine, but also a signal for the residents of Crimea. As noted by the Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Tamila Tasheva, a more detailed plan for the economic recovery of Crimea will be presented at the following international platforms and events, which will be included in the general policy for the economic recovery of the entire state. That is, the Ukrainian government is already trying to present to citizens and the world a vision of the post-war system with Ukraine restored within the borders of 1991.

The second summit of the Crimean Platform demonstrated increased support for Ukraine from the international community in the issue of the return of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which was occupied in 2014. The event fixed the principled position of Ukraine's main partners, primarily the NATO member states, which consists in the conviction of the need to return the peninsula to Ukraine as a result of the current Russian-Ukrainian war and their readiness to continue their support. The de-occupation of Crimea is directly called an important factor of regional and global security, while Ukraine actually receives carte blanche to liberate its territory by military means, which is a radical change compared to last year. This change is primarily the result of Ukraine's successful strikes on military facilities in Crimea during August and absence of Russia's reaction. The intimidations of the Russian leadership turned out to be a bluff, as well as the myth of the power of the Russian army. Now, the partner states call not only the return of the territory controlled by Ukraine as of February 23 a victory for Ukraine, but the complete restoration of territorial integrity.


1. Crimean Platform official website, Last accessed: 30.09.2022,
2. Кримська платформа 2022: новий формат, розширення географії, конкретні кроки,
3. Віра Перун, Ердоган на саміті Кримської платформи: "Крим має повернутися до складу України", 23.08.2022,