The Association of Reintegration of Crimea presented at the World Law Congress in Colombia evidences of Russia’s use of third-country nationals, paramilitary formations and civil-military organizations like “Cossacks”, “veterans of the Soviet-Afghan war”, the “Russian Union of Afghanistan Veterans” in the Russian military operation “Crimean Spring”, as well as regarding their role in the process of the continuing occupation of the Crimea.

The Association noted that these “formations” are clearly linked to the Russian government and are used by the Russian authorities and by the relevant Russian services as a weapon of discrimination and forceful displacement of the Crimean population. The mechanisms of control of these structures by Russian punitive and special bodies were announced. Separate details of the Association’s investigation of Russia’s methods of using “civil” structures and various types of organizations directly involved in destructive activities in the Ukrainian Crimea and in neighboring countries in the post-Soviet space with the aim of “legitimizing” the occupation of the peninsula were disclosed. Special emphasis was placed on this illegal activity in Belarus, within the framework of the “Recognize Crimea” campaign.

The Congress got presented forms of pressure, blackmail and persecution of Crimean residents for disagreeing with the “duty to vote for reunification with Russia”, as well as the connection of paramilitary structures controlled by the Russian Federation with activities to militarize minors, human trafficking and racial discrimination in the occupied Crimea.

The Association’s experts specifically indicated the list of participants in such paramilitary structures, awarded by Vladimir Putin for active “strengthening of friendship between peoples” and “annexation” of Crimea. These circumstances were studied in detail and included in the further work of the World Law Congress. Within the framework of the discussion held at the Congress, the illegal and unlawful nature of the activities of such structures against states, the rights and freedoms of the civilian population and individual individuals was especially noted. Concluding the Congress, Colombian President Ivan Duca Márquez highlighted the negative role of palamilitary structures in encroachments on sustainable development, democracy and human rights, leading to discrimination and forced migration of victims of conflict.

Let us recall that the World Law Congress is a periodic event of the World Union of Jurists and the World Jurists Association with consultative status at the UN, founded by Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower. The World Congress brings together highest level representatives from different countries, these are presidents and heads of government, ministers, heads and members of the highest judicial bodies and prosecutors, heads of key lawyers’ associations, international bodies’ officials, and so on.