Kyiv, 7 April 2014 – At a briefing held at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center Bohdan Yaremenko, head of the “Maidan of Foreign Affairs” charitable foundation said: “The Foundation positions itself as an alternative platform for the establishment of new approaches towards Ukraine’s foreign policy. Our activities are based on two principles – the priority of human rights and the pragmatic interests of the state.”
Mr. Yaremenko also said: “We began to work three weeks ago and we have already suggested an action plan for the government and launched a number of human rights projects. In particular, we have launched an IT project called ‘The Righteous Russians’ which allows the Ukrainians to thank the Russians for their support. Our next project will be aimed at promoting a law that will make it possible to quickly grant Ukrainian citizenship to those Russians who condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”
Bohdan Yaremenko added that the office of the BlackSeaNews previously based in Yalta, Crimea, is now moving to Kyiv: “I can say without exaggeration that since the beginning of the year, the BlackSeaNews website was one of the few resources where I could get timely, objective information about what was going on in Crimea.”
Andriy Klymenko said that the events in Crimea came not as a surprise to him: “A year ago, at a conference in Kyiv I referred to the Black Sea Region as a ‘break-off region’, and in September last year I published an article in the ‘Weekly Mirror’ about the Abkhazia scenario in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the forecast has come true, and unfortunately, our authorities do not pay close attention to analytical organizations. I hope that the ‘Maidan of Foreign Affairs’ foundation will contribute more to this.”
Also, Mr. Klymenko commented on the problem of citizenship in Crimea: “On March 18, a treaty was signed between the ‘Crimean government’ and the Russian Federation. In accordance with one of the articles of the treaty, all 2 million Crimeans will be registered as the citizens of Russia by 18 April, unless they refuse. There are only three places in Crimea were you can submit a refusal. Each of those places can only handle 100 – 150 visitors a day, which is only a couple thousand per month. Everything is being done to legitimize the results of the ‘referendum’. Another important thing is that this way the Russian Federal Security Service will get hold of the ‘fifth column’ list. Furthermore, the ‘ninety days law’ was enacted in Russia on January 1, according to which all non-Russian citizens will be asked to leave the country in 90 days. This means that a process of forceful relocation of Crimeans has begun.”
Bohdan Yarmenko is a Ukrainian diplomat, head of the Maidan of Foreign Affairs charitable foundation. In 1995 – 1999, he served as a Vice-Council and then as a Council at the Consulate General of Ukraine in New York, USA. In 2004 – 2005, he was the deputy head of Protocol of the Prime Minister of Ukraine. In 2006-2008, he was the Consul General of Ukraine in Edinburgh (UK). From 2010 to 2013, he served as the Consul General of Ukraine in Istanbul.
Andriy Klymenko is a journalist, editor in chief of the Crimean news agency BlackSeaNews.