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U.S. Protests Russia's Suspension Of Crimean Tatar Mejlis

The United States has called on Russia to reverse its decision to suspend the Crimean Tatar Mejlis as an "extremist" organization.

"Russian authorities have no basis or jurisdiction to assert Russian law over Tatar conduct in Ukraine," U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said on April 21.

The Russian Justice Ministry's decision on April 18 prohibits the self-governing Tatar body, which was legalized by Ukraine in 1999, from using state-owned media, holding public gatherings, participating in elections, and using bank accounts for anything other than paying off taxes, debts, or other financial penalties.

"This action is the latest in a series of abuses perpetrated by de facto authorities against those in Crimea who oppose the occupation, including Crimean Tatars and members of other ethnic and religious minorities," Kirby said.

"We again call on Russia to end its occupation of Crimea and return control over this piece of Ukrainian territory. Sanctions related to Crimea will remain in place as long as the occupation continues."

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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