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‘Can be equated to attempted genocide’: Envoy slams Kiev for depriving Crimeans of water

According to Alexander Lukashevich, Crimeans faced illegitimate sanctions of the US, the EU and Canada instead of international understanding

VIENNA, March 4. /TASS/. Kiev’s intention to cut off fresh water supplies to Crimea and deny this resource to residents of the peninsula can be equated with attempted genocide, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich said Thursday during an online session of the OSCE Permanent Council marking the seventh anniversary of Russia’s reunification with Crimea.

According to him, Crimeans have come up against illegitimate sanctions by the US, the EU and Canada instead of international understanding. Lukashevich reminded his American colleagues about the long-standing history of unsuccessful restrictions against Cuba in light of this. However, he noted that the Ukrainian authorities went as far as introducing economic, transportation and water blockades of this Russian region. Even seven years on, Kiev continues to not just speculate hypocritically on the topic of water supplies but also reinforce their remarks with specific plans, the envoy noted.

He cited the example of Kiev’s intention to build a dam on the 107th kilometer of the North Crimean Canal to "shut out as much water as possible from flowing into the peninsula," as certain Ukrainian representatives put it. "Can this be called caring about those people who Kiev nominally considers to be their citizens? I recall that the right to water is a necessary condition to realize other human rights, which is confirmed by the UN General Assembly resolution 64/292 and judicial practice of the European Court of Human Rights. Generally, depriving the population of water can be equated with attempted genocide," the Russian envoy pointed out.

Moreover, the ramifications of the water blockade are not only devastating for the peninsula, but also for the neighboring country's southern regions, he added. "And while Crimea has withstood [the blockade], Ukraine’s Kherson Region that borders it has faced ecological and epidemiological threats. It obviously does not bolster the popularity of the post-Maidan authorities in the eyes of their own citizens who turned out to be hostages of Kiev’s Russophobic policies," the diplomat emphasized.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014 following a coup in Ukraine. 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 the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification treaties on March 18, 2014. The documents were ratified by Russia’s Federal Assembly, or bicameral parliament, on March 21. Despite the convincing results of the referendum, Ukraine continues to refuse to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.