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SIMFEROPOL, June 28. /TASS/. Crimean resident Ernest Ablyazimov, who gave himself up to the authorities on Monday after several months in Ukraine’s paramilitary battalion, has confirmed Kiev has plans for a sea blockade of the peninsula in addition to the economic boycott on the ground. Speaking at a news conference in Crimea’s capital city Simferopol, Ablyazimov said he had been personally involved in preparations for an operation that was expected to upset ferry traffic between Crimea and the Taman Peninsula.
Ablyazimov said he had been a member of one of Ukraine’s volunteer battalions for four months.
"Within that battalion there was a special marine unit, in which I was offered the position of captain," he said. "The moment we went to sea I realized there would be an act of sabotage. Fortunately, after 40 miles on the way the engine was jammed. Had our plan worked and the wire ropes been lowered into the water, the ships crossing the Kerch Straight would have been damaged."
After Crimea’s reunification with Russia some supporters of the peninsula’s former prime minister, Lenur Islyamov, and also of Ukrainian parliament members Mustafa Jemilev and Refat Chubarov, left the peninsula and launched a food and transport blockade of Crimea. In part, they blocked the traffic of trucks and damaged electric power supply lines. Islyamov openly declared preparations for a sea blockade.
Ablyazimov, who has confirmed such plans in public, had been listed as missing for a long time. Many Ukrainian media quoted his relatives in Simferopol as saying Ablyazimov had disappeared without a trace. They also claimed it was a confirmation "Crimean Tatars are faced with the risk of being kidnapped in annexed Crimea."
Last Monday it turned out that Ernest Ablyazimov had given himself up to the border guards and confessed that he had been involved in an illegal paramilitary group in Ukrainian territory. For that he would have faced a prison term of seven years. However, the one who agrees to lay down arms of one’s own accord and proves not responsible for any other criminal offences is set free.
"I wrote a statement and gave myself up. I was told that I would be relieved of criminal punishment," Ablyazimov told the media.