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Crimean Tatars Fear Police Plan Forced Relocation

A Crimean Tatar settlement near Simferopol

A Crimean Tatar settlement near Simferopol

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine -- Crimean Tatar leaders say police are planning an operation in a Tatar settlement in the Crimean capital, Simferopol, that would force people out of their homes.

Refat Chubarov, a leader in the Crimean Tatar Assembly (Mejlis), told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service that local authorities on January 23 discussed the plan to demolish the Yani Kyrym (New Crimea) quarter in Simferopol.

The settlement was built by Crimean Tatar repatriates from Central Asia several years ago. Private companies are trying to acquire the territory for development, although the land belongs to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.

The Tatars of the Crimean peninsula were deported by Soviet leader Josef Stalin to Central Asia in the 1940s. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, they started returning to Crimea and resettled the land they had once occupied.