While Europe attention is focused on the movement of refugees from the Middle East, another little noticed refugee crisis is taking place in the Ukraine. More and more people are fleeing from the war and crisis regions in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. The Muslim minority with its own language – they are called Crimean Tatars - are affected by persecution. Many see themselves forced to leave their homes and rebuild their lives in other parts of Ukraine. They leave Crimea towards Kherson, Kiev and very often Lviv.
After the annexation of Crimea the Muslim minority is facing many difficulties. The Crimean Tatars who are on the side of Ukraine in the armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia, have been vilified by Russian media and defamed as Islamist extremists. Even the only Crimean Tatar television channel ATR experienced the consequences of the new government in the region first hand. The TV station has been closed down last year, and so far no new license was issued. The reason: ATR had been accused of inciting Tatars against the new government.
The Crimean Tatars were also forbidden to remember the anniversary of their expulsion from Crimea in 1944 with a memorial march. Under Stalin around 180,000 Tatars were persecuted and deported as Nazi collaborators. Thousands of people were killed. The Muslim minority could finally return in the late 80s. But perhaps it's not a final return.