The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine blames Russia for searching and detaining Crimean Tatars as they faced another round of oppression in the occupied Crimean peninsula. The diplomatic mission released its statement on Twitter.
"We are deeply concerned about Russia's continued illegal searches and detentions in Crimea. Russia's illegal occupation authorities must stop intimidating religious groups and forcing military conscriptions. Russia must free all Ukrainian political prisoners. Crimea is Ukraine", reads the message.
The authority called on Russia to set Ukrainian political prisoners free.
On February 17, Russia's FSB conducted searches in the dwellings of Crimean Tatars. At least six people were detained abnd taken to the local department of the FSB. These people are charged with membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamist organization that is banned in Russia as "extremist".
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry protested against Russia's actions in the occupied Crimea and claimed that Kyiv is about to bring up this issue in the UN.
According to Ukrainian ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova, there is also information about detained activists of "Crimean Solidarity" organization, and those working for the initiative for children of political prisoners called "Crimean childhood". Denisova calls the persecution of Crimean Tatars in annexed Crimea religiously motivated. The representative office of the President of Ukraine in the region views these events as "political persecution."