Konstantin Yeliseyev. Crimean platform: what are the risks and what to do?

The de-occupation of Crimea is a key state policy priority. The holding of the Crimean Platform summit on August 23 meets this goal and is important both for mobilizing international support, solidarity, and for defining a further strategy for action. For all the pomp of the preperations for the forum, the Ukrainian government, along with its allies, must be clearly aware of the risks.

How to prevent them?

The Crimean Platform Summit does not begin, but in fact continues efforts to de-occupy Crimea. The legal framework for this work was actually laid out in the adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262 of March 27, 2014, which stated that Crimea is part of Ukraine. This initiative started the adoption of more than a dozen resolutions and decisions by the UN General Assembly, the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the NATO PA and PACE on the de-occupation and demilitarization of Crimea, including the historic Pompeo Declaration. The Kremlin would be happy to reset all this progress. Especially with our current leaders in Kyiv, who continue to say “let’s return Crimea to the international agenda” and “before Zelensky no one talked about Crimea and nothing was done.” It’s time to change methods.

The level of representation on the Crimean platform is not unimportant. Ideally there should be 100 nations present, because that is how many countries voted for the above-mentioned UN General Assembly resolution in support of Ukraine. And this number should remain a “golden standard.” Although not only quantity is important, but also quality. It is unlikely that the Crimean Platform summit will succeed if it is not attended by representatives of the UN, the OSCE, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and key partners, including Turkey and all EU member states.

The final document of the Crimean Platform cannot be less ambitious in its content than the UN resolutions. A weakened and toothless Charter signed in Kyiv would become an “own goal” for the cause. Instead, the revolutionary language of the document should be an important basis for future ambitious resolutions in other international fora. The signatures should be given with a readiness for of partners to strengthen sanctions against Russia, including Russian companies that use the illegally built Kerch Bridge and should ensure current sanctions.

It is necessary to avoid the risk of closing the topic of de-occupation of Crimea only at the Kyiv platform. The liberation of the peninsula is in internationalization, not localization. As well as in the large-scale involvement of international law and key organizations, courts, human rights organizations and more. It would be important after the Kyiv saga of the signing to bring the issue of de-occupation of Crimea to the UN platform with the ambition of holding a high-level event (this usually takes time and effort.) This would be an effective way to expand the geography of our support, primarily through Latin America, Asia and Africa.

The final document of the Kyiv summit should not replace the existing decisions of the UN and other international organizations. It is obvious that the political and legal significance of the UN General Assembly resolution is much more important than the text or any charter. Let me remind you that thanks to the decision of UN General Assembly resolution 68/262 in March 27, 2014, Ukraine managed to defend the outline of the map of Ukraine design, together with Crimea, on the uniform of the national football team during the European Championship. It is also important that, in accordance with the resolutions of the UN General Assembly, the UN Secretary General prepares annual reports on the status of their findings’ implementation and the situation around Crimea.

Finally, the Crimean Platform Summit should not be an event for just a domestic audience or a tool for raising political ratings. I remember, under other presidents, including in Yanukovych’s time, pathetic forums were also convened (for example, the Yalta Summit of CEE Heads of State) as a way to restore lost international legitimacy, to show hospitality to foreigners, and to show the Ukrainian voter the “influence” of their president. Few people thought about what their guests would think about Ukraine when they left the country. I want to believe it won’t be like that this time and that Bankova understands the risks: Our partners should not leave with the impression that they took part in a one-time event and watched the “one-man show”. The content must prevail beyond the forum.