UNITED NATIONS, March 19. /TASS/. The UN Security Council members are due to hold an informal meeting on Crimea on Thursday at the initiative of Lithuania, while Russian diplomats said they plan to boycott the event.
The meeting, to be held behind the closed doors, will be attended by Mustafa Dzhemilev, who is a member of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, and the former head of the Crimean Tatar community, and Andrey Zubarev, the representative of the so-called Crimean human rights field mission.
The event will begin at 22:00 Moscow time (1900 GMT). The meeting will be held under the so-called "Arria-formula" that will allow the Security Council members to exchange views in a private order with the participation of persons who are not the official representatives of the UN member-states.
The Lithuanian permanent mission's press attache, Ruta Jazukeviciute, said not only the Security Council members, but also all the UN countries have been invited to attend the discussion.
"The goal of the meeting is to give them an opportunity to get the first hand information on the situation in the sphere of human rights and the freedom of mass media and the situation of national minorities and also learn about the latest events in Crimea and eastern Ukraine," she told a TASS correspondent.
The participants will be also able to discuss the possible role that the UN Security Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) can play in the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, she added.
Russia’s permanent mission to the UN said the upcoming event is "counterproductive and provocative." "It does not refer to the UN Security Council’s activities. The Russian delegation will not take part in it and, as far as we know, the delegations of several other countries won’t do it either," the mission said in an official statement.
The diplomatic mission of France, which holds the presidency of the Security Council in March, said Russia is the only country at the moment that has informed about its refusal to attend the meeting.
In early March, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said that Moscow would not discuss as part of the Security Council the issue of Crimea, which is the federal subject of Russia. He reminded that the recent opinion poll conducted by a German institute showed that 93% of citizens of the peninsula said they supported the reunification with Russia.
"We don’t need to prove anything," the diplomat said.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11. They held a referendum on March 16, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems is actively underway now that Crimea has accessed to the Russian Federation.
Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.