Ukrainian Ministry for Reintegration, with facilitation of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and Kherson Regional State Administration, organized and held on October 21, 2020 the international conference “Problematic Issues of Water Supply to the Crimea under the Russian Occupation”.
The Conference was attended by the representatives of Ukrainian state and local government bodies, representatives of the expert environment, human rights advocates, scientists etc. that directly spoke at the Conference
Upon invitation of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, representatives of diplomatic missions of Afghanistan, Belgium, the UK, Denmark, Canada, Kyrgyzstan, Spain, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, Sweden, the Apostolic Nunciature in Ukraine etc., as well as such international organizations as the UN and the OSCE, joined the Conference online.
The Conference demonstrated existence of the actual reasons for emergence of the water supply problem for the local population of the occupied Crimea, which comprise:
1) considerable militarization of the Crimean and trends towards active continuation of this process upon instruction of the military and political leaders of Russia, in conditions of the substantial increase of water consumption by a large number of military units and military enterprises);
2) replacement of the local population with citizens of the Russian Federation from various regions of Russia in a considerably larger number with totalitarian policy of the Russian military and political leaders as well as the occupying power is observed, characterized with creation of artificial conditions forcing Ukrainian citizens to leave the peninsula, through breach of human rights, violence, pressure, intimidation;
3) breach of the norms of the international humanitarian and environmental law, barbaric attitude of the Russian occupying authorities towards the unique natural resources of the Crimea.
Impossibility to renew water supply from mainland Ukraine to the Crimea ia the Northern Crimean Canal, considering the above factors and international law norms, which demonstrate that:
1) under the international law, the occupant country, i.e. the Russian Federation, is responsible for supporting the life and provision of socio-economic support to the population on the occupied territories;
2) the armed forces of the Russian Federation and citizens of Russia illegally staying on these territories are the main consumers of the water resources in the occupied Crimea and Ukraine is not obliged to provide the occupant troops and persons illegally staying on the territory of Ukraine with anything, and, moreover, to support them;
3) Ukraine did not breach the international law norms, considering that it did not result to artificial changes and did not close the natural bed of the Dnieper River, as the Northern Crimean Canal is an artificial structure.
At the same time, considering the concentrated significant attention of the speakers on the issue of considerable militarization of the Crimea, including media capable to carry nuclear weapons, the Conference participants noted that the mentioned actions of the military and political leaders of Russia are aimed at increasing the geopolitical pressure onto the leading countries of the world and are provoking aggravation of the security situation not only in the Black Sea region, but in Europe on the whole.
The participants of the international conference concluded that:
1) renewal of water supply from mainland Ukraine to the Crimean is possible only following complete deoccupation of the Crimea, removal of all Russian occupying troops and restoration of control of the Government of Ukraine over these territories;
2) cease of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine on the territory of certain districts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, as well as their deoccupation can in no way occur at the expense of concessions with regard to the issue of renewal of water supply and deoccupation of the Crimea.
Based on the results of the event, the following proposals were made on the Conference:
1) make information updates for the global community and the international partners, on the increase of the military threat to the Black Sea countries as the result of the occupation by Russia and considerable militarization of the Crimea;
2) draw the attention of the global community and of the international partners towards objective information on the situation with water provision in the temporarily occupied Crimea, as well as towards the manipulative actions of the Russian Federation on bringing this issue for consideration at various international grounds, both official and unofficial;
3) make information updates for the international partners and the relevant international organizations on breaches by the Russia of the international law norms in the Crimea, namely continued breach of human rights, pressure, intimidation, illegal imprisonment of Ukrainian citizens, conscription to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, restriction of access to information sources;
4) make information updates to specialized international organizations and international partners the issue of breach by Russia of the international environmental law norms in Crimea, namely damage to the natural environment and to the natural reserve fund due to militarization of the peninsula, illegal usage of subsoil and natural resources of Crimea and of the adjacent sea waters, illegal construction of large infrastructural objects; ensure implementation of measures on systemic documenting and recording of those facts;
5) ensure, including in cooperation with the international partners and specialized international organizations, development/elaboration, as well as regulatory implementation of the procedures and methodologies of calculation of losses caused by damage to the natural environment and natural reserve stock due to militarization of the peninsula, illegal usage of subsoil and natural resources of the Crimea and of the adjacent sea waters;
6) hold separate conferences in Kherson Region, involving international experts, on the topics: “Militarization of the Crimea as a threat to security in the Black Sea region”, “Combating disinformation, fake news, and development of media literacy in the conditions of information aggression of Russia against Ukraine”;
7) when elaborating the State Strategy of Deoccupation and Integration of the Crimea, take account of the need for stabilization of the environmental situation and improvement of the level of provision with water resources on the Crimean following deoccupation.
Experts of Association participated activly in this Conference.