Crimean Tartar leader hopes for early end to occupation
Friday, May 16, 2014 - 01:43
May 16 - Tatar leader hopes for early end to Russian occupation after Crimean authorities ban a mass mourning march to mark 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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A ceremony in Kiev to commemorate 70 years since Joseph Stalin deported Tatars from Crimea.
The service comes after Crimean authorities banned a mass mourning march.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled to the Crimean Tatars that they must accept their future within Russia -- after Moscow annexed their Black Sea homeland from Ukraine in March.
The spiritual leader of the Tatars wants no part of it.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SPIRITUAL LEADER OF THE CRIMEAN TATARS, MUSTAFA DZHEMILEV, SAYING:
"Opinions differ as to how long this occupation will last. We really hope it won't be for long. We hope that with the efforts of the international community together with the democratic forces of Ukraine that we will shorten this occupation to the minimum. And, I hope that in the nearest future Crimean Tatars will have a new date to celebrate, that of the end of occupation."
Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk says the Tatars are resilient.
(SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINE PRIME MINISTER ARSENY YATSENYUK SAYING:
"We are on the side of the good. Stalin and Bolsheviks thought that through deportation they could destroy Crimean Tatars. Never. These people have destroyed the regime that deported them and which humiliated them. Crimean Tatars exist, Bolsheviks, Stalin and the rest of them do not. And this is how it will be."
Crimean Tatars boycotted the March 16 annexation referendum, and said they do not recognize Russia's authority.
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