Situation in Crimea

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of the Crimea, more than 2 million people have come to the Crimea as tourists since the beginning of 2019. Citizens of Ukraine comprise 9% of the entire number of visitors to the Crimea, or approximately 202.7 thousand people.

According to the Russian Interfax agency, in 2018 more than 6.16 million tourists visited the peninsula. The agency quotes the minister of tourism of the Crimea as stating that around 1 million people entered Crimea via the border with Ukraine.  In his assessment this represents 16% of the tourists in 2018.

ForPost online media of the city of Sebastopol reported that on June 3, 2019 a group of rock climbers, all citizens of Ukraine, was rescued in the southern part of the peninsula when the leading member of the group fell fromthe rock seriously injuring himself. The article points out that rescue and medical help were provided free of charge.

In June DW published their interview with Professor Martin Aust, who had published his new book The Shadow of the Empire ― Russia Since 1991, in which he describes contemporary Russia as ”no longer empire despite its imperial heritage”. Answering a question about ”reclaiming lost territories”, Prof. Aust stated, ”Russia has incorporated Crimea into the Russian Federation. In the West, we say: “Russia has annexed Crimea.” But this is very different from the status of Transnistria or South Ossetia, for example. These regions are difficult to compare. Nor can we read this as a way the government in Moscow is trying to recapture the lost empire.”

The Independent reported the offer made by President Zelensky to swap Oleh Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker being held in Russia, for the Russian-Ukrainian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky, who is being held in Ukraine because of his work as a journalist for the Russian state media.

On July 18, 2019 the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Russia, notably environmental activists and Ukrainian political prisoners, in which the EP called on Russia ”to release without further delay and unconditionally all illegally and arbitrarily detained Ukrainian citizens, to guarantee unhindered access to both Crimea and Donbass to all intergovernmental organisations and to ensure full cooperation with UN Special Procedures.

On July 22 the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission to Ukraine posted on their Facebook page that they had visited the administrative border with Crimea in the area of the Kalanchak and Chongar entry-exit points to conduct distant monitoring of the human rights situation. They point   out that the Russian Federation still denies access to Crimea to the Mission.