Speaking in the Verkhovna Rada, Yulia Kazdobina, a UCIPR analyst and Adviser to the Information Policy Minister of Ukraine, said that an expert report on the events of 26 February 2014 “is an important argument for keeping the Ukrainian public aware and opposing Russian propaganda.” The international expert report on “The Case of 26 February” by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union was presented in the Verkhovna Rada as part of the “Day of Crimea in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine” multicultural action on 23 February 2017.
Speaking during the report presentation in the Rada, Yulia Kazdobina stressed that its data will help make the Ukrainian society aware and dispel the myths of Russian propaganda. “Participants in the rally, organized by the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People with the participation of pro-Ukrainian Crimeans on 26 February 2014, thwarted the plans of the invader willing to demonstrate to the world that Crimea went to Russia without any resistance, voluntarily and willingly,” Julia Kazdobina underscored. “Furthermore, they prevented the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea from voting for Crimea’s separation from Ukraine as its session was never held due to the many-thousand rally. The protest proved to the occupying power, Ukraine, and the international community that there are many forces in Crimea capable of peacefully resisting the aggressor,” she added.
On 26 February 2014, two rallies were carried out near the building of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in Simferopol. They were organized by the Russian Unity and the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and reflected different views on the status of Crimea. Two pro-Ukrainian protesters were killed, and some injured. After the occupation of Crimea, Russia has launched criminal prosecution of some Crimean Tatars who had taken part in the protests. In particular, Akhtem Chiygoz, Eskender Kantemirov, Mustafa Degermendzhi, Eskender Emirvaliev, Ali Asanov, and Arsen Yunusov are accused in the case of 26 February opened by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Crimea. Eskender Nebiev and Talyat Yunusov have been given a suspended sentence.