Rights activists in Crimea say Russia’s mobilisation drive in the occupied peninsula is disproportionately targeting Crimean Tatars, an ethnic group that has largely opposed Russian rule since the area was annexed in 2014.
“Everywhere, in every town, I am hearing that the majority of those mobilised are Crimean Tatars, and we know they are particularly targeting settlements with predominantly Crimean Tatar populations,” an activist from the group still living on the peninsula said in a telephone interview.
“This will be a catastrophe for us that will take years to heal.”
Vladimir Putin announced “partial mobilisation” on Wednesday in an attempt to bolster Russia’s flagging invasion of Ukraine with new troops. Across the country, families have said goodbye to men who have been called up to fight. There have been reports of disproportionately high numbers mobilised in poor regions populated by ethnic minority groups, such as Buryatia and the republics of the North Caucasus.
The largely Muslim Crimean Tatars make up about 13% of Crimea’s population. There is no official breakdown of who has been mobilised but extensive anecdotal evidence suggests Crimean Tatars have been targeted disproportionately. Crimea SOS, a Ukrainian rights organisation, estimates that 90% of mobilisation notices have been given to Crimean Tatars. [Continue reading…]