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Up to 800,000 Russians are said to have moved to Crimea since its occupation in 2014.

Up to 800,000 Russians are said to have moved to Crimea since its occupation in 2014.

(This article Republished through our collaboration with The Kyiv Independent – Ukraine’s leading English-language publication. If you would like to support their wartime journalism, please consider becoming a member Via this link).

Up to 800,000 Russians have moved to occupied Crimea since its illegal annexation in 2014, and about 100,000 Ukrainians have left the region. This represents a larger Russian project to reshape the demographics of the peninsula. So Vladislav Miroshnichenko, analyst at the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) on December 6.

This number is consistent with previous estimates by other Ukrainian officials. Tamila Tasheva, Permanent Representative of President Volodymyr Zelensky in Crimea, So In July 2023, between 500,000 and 800,000 Russians had moved illegally to the peninsula since 2014.

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Since its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia has pursued policies aimed at increasing the number of Russians in Crimea, while forcing or otherwise pressuring Ukrainians to leave the region.

According to Miroshnichenko, the migration of 800,000 Russians and the exodus of 100,000 Ukrainians is not just an organic process, but rather the result of a deliberate policy by the Russian government that he claims could be considered a violation of international humanitarian law.

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Russification policy

These policies include “favorable real estate loans (for Russians), relocation of the Russian army, police, government members, health and education workers, judges and their families, deportation of Ukrainians to the mainland, and encouraging other Ukrainians to move to Russian territory.”

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Miroshnichenko noted that Russia has tried to implement a similar policy in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine since the all-out invasion in 2022, although with less success due to the ongoing war.

(The article continues below the image).

Young people take part in a demonstration marking the ninth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, holding a banner reading “Russia does not start wars, it ends them,” next to a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Yalta, Crimea, Friday. March 17, 2023. Photo: AP/NTP

The population decreased dramatically

This is particularly evident in Mariupol, which was heavily bombed during Russia’s nearly three-month siege of the city following the 2022 invasion. Center for National Resistance Reported in August 2023 Moscow has drawn up a “development plan” for the city that includes moving about 300,000 Russians to Mariupol by 2035.

The city’s pre-invasion population was more than 450,000, but Ukrainian authorities estimate that only 100,000 remained after Russian forces took over the city.