The third Summit of the Crimean Platform and its result for the further de-occupation of Crimea
On August 23, the third Summit of the Crimean Platform took place in Kyiv. Having gathered 63 representatives from different countries and international organizations, the summit was focused on issues of de-occupation of the peninsula, its post-war reconstruction, and security of the Black Sea region. One of the main goals was also to emphasize that for Ukraine no peace negotiations are possible without Crimea.
Over the three years of its existence, the summit has changed its narratives – previously the only way to solve the problem of Russia’s occupation of the peninsula was through diplomacy; now the platform is also strengthening the military front. Officially established in 2021, the platform initially aimed to find a political solution and a way to peacefully reintegrate the peninsula from Russian occupation. However, this year the main focus of the summit was on the issue of the de-occupation of Crimea by military means, and on the fact that only Ukraine will determine this path.
“The main task of the Crimean platform is to prepare for de-occupation. We understand how we will return to Crimea, what steps we need to take. We understand that this is not an easy task, but we see this way,” said President Zelensky.
The third summit also demonstrated increased support from the world community. This year, not only Western countries but also representatives from South America, Africa, and Asia participated in the platform. Therefore, three years ago the platform started its work with 45 participating countries; now there are more than 60 countries that clearly declare their support for Ukraine and non-recognition of the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.
The summit took place in a hybrid format; some representatives of the countries personally visited Kyiv. Among them are the Presidents of Hungary, Lithuania, and Portugal, the Chairman and member of the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Prime Ministers of Moldova and Finland, the Minister of Defense of the Netherlands and the Senior Advisor to the President of Turkey.
Representatives from other countries joined online. In particular, almost 30 presidents and prime ministers: the leaders of the USA, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, France, Japan, New Zealand, and others. For the first time, the Summit was attended by representatives of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia, Timor-Leste, the World Tourism Organization, UNESCO, and the Danube Commission.
It is worth noting that the President of Turkey, Recep Erdogan, and the President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, also took part in the summit. Despite the economic relations between Ankara and Moscow, as well as despite the position of the Georgian government towards Russia, the presidents emphasized the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Tamila Tasheva, also delivered a speech. She emphasized the problem of the destruction of the Crimean Tatar identity and the persecution of the Crimean Tatars – 117 out of 180 Crimean political prisoners are Crimean Tatars.
Overall, the third summit outlined several main achievements of the Crimean Platform 2023. First of all, the Crimean Platform demonstrated the strong support of Ukraine by the international community. As mentioned, the first summit included only 45 participating countries, while this year Ukraine received support from a much larger number of countries, including the countries of the Global South and a wider circle of world organizations. The accession of new members shows that the countries realized the price of the mistake they made in 2014 when they allowed Russia to pursue its aggressive policy. At that time, the same countries of the West put their economic benefit above the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which led to the consequences that the whole world is now struggling with.
Secondly, at the summit, a contract was signed with companies that are ready to come to Crimea. The document is open, so any honest business can join it. “We already have the support of international, national, and local Ukrainian businesses that are ready to enter Crimea and start working immediately after de-occupation. These are powerful brands of international hotel chains, airlines, banking businesses, technological and telecommunication companies, and industrial companies.” – said Zelensky. He also noted that Crimea will be part of the global economy, and not just a tourist oasis.
According to him, such companies as SkyUp, JoinUp, Vodafone, Luxoft, SoftServe, Genesys, Sigma Software, Edem, Okko, Lifecell, Nokia, Hayat Ukraine, Epam, Fozzy, etc. have shown a willingness to invest in Crimea. In particular, the low-cost Irish airline Ryanair declared its support for Ukraine and its readiness to provide its services immediately after the victory. Ryanair supported the Memorandum of Cooperation and Partnership and confirmed its intentions to invest 3 billion dollars in the recovery of the Ukrainian air transport market. Representatives of the Ukrainian online banking Monobank and the national operator Kyivstar also spoke during the summit. They confirmed the readiness of the companies to start their work on the peninsula in the first days after the de-occupation.
Last but not least, based on the results of the summit, Ukraine is also creating a final document that will contain approaches to de-occupation that are important for the country. Anyone can join in signing it. Among the main guarantees are the support of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the security of the Black Sea region. Also guarantees for the renewal of grain exports and the restoration of Ukraine’s control over the Zaporizhzhya NPP. Important aspects for Ukraine are the return of Ukrainian prisoners of war, who are currently in Russian captivity, as well as the return of deported children.
Therefore, unlike the previous ones, the third summit of the Crimean platform demonstrated the support of the world not only in the diplomatic way of returning the peninsula but also in its de-occupation by military means. A record number of participating countries confirm their recognition of the territorial integrity of Ukraine according to the 1991 borders. This support was proved by the signing of documents that guarantee the rapid development and support of the Crimean peninsula after its de-occupation by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.