Biden and Harris decline Ukraine’s invite to Crimea Summit

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent told Radio Liberty that neither President Biden nor Vice President Harris will be taking part in the Crimean Platform Summit — a Kiev-led initiative aimed at keeping the international community focused on the goal of "de-occupying Crimea."

Kent noted that the event, which is scheduled for August 23, will be attended by someone from the Biden cabinet but did not specify who that will be.

According to Ukraine's First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Emine Dzhaparova, the forum seeks to raise awareness in the West about what Russia is doing on the peninsula, and how it’s “keeping 2.5 million Ukrainians as hostages.”

Crimea became a part of Russia in 2014 following a violent coup that toppled the legitimately elected government of Ukraine and sparked wide civil unrest. 

The Crimean legislature, which did not support the new self-proclaimed government in Kiev, first voted unanimously to secede from Ukraine and then held a peninsula-wide referendum, allowing its more than 2 million residents to decide on whether to remain as an independent state or to join the Russian Federation.

Over 95% of Crimeans voted to join Russia.

Historically, Crimea has been a part of Russia since 1783, and it was not until the chaotic and legally dubious collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 that the peninsula suddenly found itself attached to the newly independent state of Ukraine. Despite these changes, however, Crimea remained pro-Russian and continued to host Russia’s largest Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol.

Source: Radio Liberty