Russia deliberately causes humanitarian catastrophe in Crimea – Bariiev

September 21, 2020

The Crimean Tatar Resource Center has sent to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights a report on the impact of the irrational policies of the Russian occupation authorities on the water balance of Crimea. About the situation with water in the occupied Crimea and the responsibility of the occupiers for providing water to the population of the peninsula, read the interview of the Head of the board of the CTRC, a member of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Eskender Bariiev for the Hromadske Radio.

Eskender Bariiev: We know that the occupation authorities are trying to inform international structures that a humanitarian catastrophe is approaching in Crimea due to the lack of the water supply from the North Crimean Canal. We are monitoring and tracking this situation, so we made an analytical report, where we wrote that there could indeed be a humanitarian catastrophe in Crimea due to lack of water, but the Russian Federation is the only side to blame for this. I'll explain why.

First, it is the irrational use of Crimea's natural resources. At the time of the occupation of 2014, the peninsula had 200 million cubic meters of water reserves. To fully provide the Crimea with water, 1100 million cubic meters per year are needed. 155 million goes to domestic needs – so that people drink and use water, and so that there is no humanitarian catastrophe. Irrigation needs 500 million and 400 million are used for industry. That is, based on these figures, we can clearly say that with the rational use of water there was enough.

Today, the situation in Crimea is very serious, because the reservoirs, which were filled in 2014, have become shallow to the dead zone. With a dead zone, the dams themselves are destroyed due to the lack of water, respectively, even if there will be heavy rainfall tomorrow, these dams may not withstand water flows.

Why is there not enough water? Firstly, the occupation authorities changed the river beds, and secondly,  began to use water from reservoirs uncontrollably – to throw it in one direction, then in another. Third, they did not repair or maintain the water supply system.

The worst thing is that the invaders began to actively pump out water from the gold reserves of  Crimea – a lens of fresh water, which is located in the Nyzhniohirsk and Dzhankoy districts. Now salt water appears in the wells, since the law of conservation of masses is preserved here – if something disappears, it is filled with something else. And the rock of the Crimean mountains is karst, accordingly, it is filling with water.

Today in Crimea the water supply schedule is being introduced, more and more salt water appears in taps, and it seems that the Russian Federation is purposefully creating a humanitarian catastrophe, so that the international community begins to put pressure on Ukraine to start supplying water through the North Crimean Canal.

Why do we think so and why did we draw the attention of the international community to this? First, the occupiers increased the population by almost a million, which also increases water consumption. In addition, according to their data, during the current summer season there were more than 3 million tourists in Crimea. And these people also consumed water. And if the Russian Federation was worried about the situation with water in Crimea, it would have introduced restrictive measures and slowed down the process of Russians entering the territory of occupied Crimea.

Listen to the full conversation

We remind that earlier the Crimean Tatar Resource Center informed the UN about the influence of the irrational policy of the occupation authorities of the Russian Federation on the water balance of Crimea. The document, in addition to describing numerous facts of violation of the water balance of the peninsula by the occupiers, notes that in accordance with the Convention for the Protection of Civilian Population in Time of War of August 12, 1949, the provision of water to the population of the peninsula is fully related to the obligations of the occupying state – the Russian Federation.