Press Statement
Mark C. Toner 
Deputy Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 30, 2016

The United States does not recognize the legitimacy of the Russian Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the ban of Crimean Tatars’ self-governing body, the Mejlis. We reject the characterization of the Mejlis as an ‘extremist’ organization and condemn the suspension of this democratic institution. This decision is particularly troubling given Russia’s systematic and unjust mistreatment of Crimean Tatars.
Russia continues to subject Crimean Tatars to arbitrary arrests, abductions, politically motivated prosecutions, restrictions on freedom of movement, and police raids on their homes and mosques. We call on Russia to cease these unacceptable practices immediately.
We do not recognize Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea, and we reiterate our call on Russia to return control of the peninsula to Ukraine.
Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Moscow returns control over Crimea to Ukraine.