Updated: May 1, 2022
On 22nd February, Russia initiated military operations to invade Ukraine. Vladimir Putin had addressed Russia and cited his reason for the invasion. In the recent past, Ukraine had shown an inclination towards becoming a member of NATO which is a strategic partnership of western nations mainly America and the European Union. Russia is surrounded by NATO members wherein America has significant influence. Russia considers the decision of Ukraine becoming a member of NATO a threat. Additionally, Putin blamed the Ukrainian government for holding a genocide and aimed for “demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine"
Multiple airstrikes, military movement in the region, attacks on the airports have resulted in several casualties of civilians and military personnel from both sides.
Amongst individuals of various nationalities and ethnicities stranded in the region are the Crimean Muslims belonging to the Crimean Peninsula.
In 1944 Joseph Stalin, the former premier of the USSR ordered a genocide on the community. Thousands in the weak population were ordered to vacate their land and were shifted to Uzbekistan. The order came in because of a belief that the community had sided with Nazi Germany. Thousands were forcefully displaced from their homes, raped, and killed. They were “packaged off “in a train to Uzbekistan. On route, many died of starvation, disease as they were kept in inhumane conditions. Post Stalin era, under the new premier the charges laid against the group were dropped. However, the Crimean Tatars were not allowed to return to their homeland. When Soviet Russia fell, Ukraine gained independence in 1991 and promised all groups fundamental rights and protection against discrimination. The Crimean Tatars, returned to their homeland however the situation had changed. Several Ukrainians and Russians had taken over their lands. Moreover, they faced discrimination. Over the years, various programs were established by the Ukrainian governments to help the Crimean youth to adapt to society. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea after Ukraine’s internal political dispute. Countless protests were witnessed in the region supporting either the Russian Federation or the Ukrainian government. In May 2014 a disputed referendum was conducted wherein the local population was asked if they wanted Crimea to become a Russian Federation Subject or be a part of Ukraine. Approximately 96.7 percent voted for Crimea to become a Russian Federation Subject with a minority of voters wanting it to stay in Ukraine. The Russian government had recognized the creation of the “Republic of Crimea” as a subject of the Russian Federation. However, the world governments in United Nations considered the poll as invalid and condoned Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty. Some Crimean Muslims who supported Russia got the opportunity to hold important positions of power. Crimea Platform was an initiative started by the current Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky; a step taken to reverse the annexation. This initiative also included protecting the human rights of the Crimean Tatars as the central objective and environmental degradation of the Black Sea and Azov Sea. With the situation looking brim at this moment, we can all hope for a healthy political discourse in the future to save countless lives that have faced cultural genocide along with innocents who have been dragged to fight a war.