STATEMENT: Russian Shutdown of Crimean Tatar Media (April 2)

By Marie Harf, Acting Spokesperson

We strongly condemn the Russian occupation authorities’ shutdown of many major Crimean Tatar media outlets yesterday, including ATR TV, the last independent television station serving the Crimean Tatar population of Crimea, as well as QHA news agency, the newspaper Avdet, radio station Meydan FM, and several others.  These closures are the latest in a string of actions that undermine freedom of expression in Crimea.

They follow a year-long crusade to silence the Crimean Tatar population and others who oppose Russia’s occupation.  Tatars have been singled out and subjected to a pattern of discrimination, intimidation and persecution, including raids on homes, political organizations, and places of worship.

Those in Crimea deserve better.  The United States condemns the failure by Russia to respect the human rights of those who remain in Crimea and its disregard for media freedom, and calls for the immediate reinstatement of all the media outlets that were closed.  Crimea remains an integral part of Ukraine, and the United States continues to stand behind Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.