World Bulletin / News Desk
Two Crimean Tatars from the city of Belogorsk were seized on September 27 by a group of unknown men in military uniform, it has been claimed.
The two men were pushed into a car before being driven away and have not been seen since.
Abdureshit Dzhepparov, the father of one of those who were kidnapped, said that he had appealed to the police and the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) to investigate the incident.
“That’s the limit, when we are pushed on the floor in own homes and when our schools and mosques are searched. We decided to speak about it, to create a reaction, to make the Crimean authorities stop this,” Dzhepparov said, referring to increasing oppression against Crimean Tatars in the region.
The latest incident brings back memories of Crimean Tatar activist Reshat Ametov, who was seized by unknown men in March and was later found dead.
Since the annexation in March, around 3,000 Crimean Tatars have left the peninsula for mainland Ukraine.
The U.N. has also pointed to the erosion of human rights in Crimea, which remains under the occupation of pro-Russian militias who particularly threaten the Crimean Tatars.
Crimean Tatars have complained that they have been targeted for speaking their Turkic language in public and have had their homes marked by pro-Russian militiamen.
The Crimean Tatars have largely opposed the annexation of Crimea by Russia, fearing a repeat of the events of 1944 when 190,000 Tatars were completely expelled as part of former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's policy.
They gradually started returning in the early 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union, but still live as a minority in their homeland as they were displaced by ethnic Russian settlers who migrated there later on. According to Ukraine’s 2001 national census, Crimea was home to 243,000 Tatars out of a population of around 2 million.
Since the annexation, Russia has been granting Russian citizenship to the people of Crimea in replacement of their Ukrainian nationality. Crimean Tatars, who have campaigned to reject Russian citizenship, reserve the right to remain as Ukrainian citizens, but will by default become foreigners in their homeland.
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