Espreso. Global

How many Crimean Tatars are fighting for Ukraine: Mustafa Dzhemilev answers

18 May, 2024 Saturday
17:45

Mustafa Dzhemilev, the leader of the Crimean Tatar people, has announced the number of Crimean Tatars defending Ukraine in the ranks of the Armed Forces

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The politician said this in an interview with the Krym.Realii project on May 18, 2024.

"All Crimean Tatars who moved to mainland Ukraine after the occupation of Crimea are subject to conscription as citizens of Ukraine. And they are drafted at their place of residence. In addition, we have two military units today - the Crimean Tatar volunteer sabotage and reconnaissance group under the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine and the Noman Chelebidzhikhan volunteer battalion, headed by Lenur Islyamov. In total, there are about two thousand Crimean Tatars (serving in the Defence Forces - ed.)," Dzhemilev said.

At the same time, he did not name the exact number of Crimean Tatars killed in the war with Russia, because "immediately in Crimea, the FSB starts raids on their relatives".

As for the Crimean Tatars who supported the annexation and went to fight against Ukraine, Dzhemilev is sure that compared to the non-Tatar population of the peninsula, there are not many of them. This conclusion, the Crimean Tatar leader stressed, can be drawn based on an analysis of casualty figures.  

"As of today, we have received information about only 41 bodies among the Crimean Tatars who returned in bags. Of these, 22 people are prisoners on domestic charges who were taken to the army under the threat of new sentences. Only six people were looking for big money, which the occupiers promised. And the rest of the dead are those who could not avoid (mobilisation into Putin's army - ed.). But this does not mean that the numbers are limited to this. Because a lot of people are missing. But according to official Russian data, since the so-called special operation, about 786 people have returned to Crimea in bags," explained MP Dzhemilev.

The number of Crimean warriors has increased

At the beginning of 2023, a representative of the Crimean Tatar Resource Centre, Zarema Barieva, spoke about 500 soldiers of Crimean Tatar origin in the Armed Forces and volunteer battalions.

  • On May 18, Ukraine marks the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People. On this day in 1944, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin began the deportation of Crimean Tatars from their historic homeland. 
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