20:14 10.01.2023

Free Ichkeria inter-faction union holds first meeting – Merezhko

4 min read

KYIV. Jan 10 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The Verkhovna Rada's inter-faction union Free Ichkeria held its first meeting on Tuesday, the chairman of the union, Oleksandr Merezhko, who is a member of the Servant of the People faction, has said.

"The inter-faction union Free Ichkeria held its first meeting today with the participation of representatives of the Servant of the People, European Solidarity, and Holos parties. [Head of the United Force diaspora movement of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria] Dzhambulat Suleimanov was invited for participation and discussion of prospects," Merezhko said at a press conference hosted by the press center of the Interfax-Ukraine News Agency.

The participants of the meeting discussed Ukraine's assistance in the de-occupation of Ichkeria. According to Merezhko, a preliminary action plan provides for the intensification of work at the level of international institutions.

"We think it is necessary to use PACE as a platform for raising the issue of the de-occupation of Chechnya and the protection of human rights and democracy. We will promote it within PACE, include it in the agenda and use all international opportunities to support you [the United Force moevement]," he said, adding that Ichkeria should gain observer status in PACE in the future.

Ukraine, represented by the Free Ichkeria union, can present such initiatives at the international level since the United Force movement conducts a national liberation struggle, hence it is a subject of international law.

Merezhko also recalled that Ukraine was the first to recognize at the parliamentary level the territory of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as a state temporarily occupied by Russia, as well as condemned Russia's genocide against the Chechen people, which "is an example for other countries of the world."

"Other European countries may consider that Ichkeria is distant from them. But it is not. When such a serious international crime as genocide is committed, one must remember that this is a crime against all countries and humanity. It is our moral obligation to take this issue to our partners and convince them to make the same decision," he said.

Also, according to Merezhko, the Free Ichkeria union intends to look for associates among the members of European parliaments in order to create similar parliamentary platforms there.

"This would be the first step towards the complete liberation of Ichkeria from Russian occupation," he said.

In turn, Suleimanov thanked the Verkhovna Rada, the members of the Free Ichkeria union, and the president of Ukraine for their political will in recognizing Chechen sovereignty and the Russian genocide against the people of Ichkeria.

"Russian propaganda against the Chechens was the main reason why our young state was stopped on the rise. In connection with the processes in Ukraine, we have hope that we will be able to gain our independence. Thanks to you, we see prospects today, and for almost 20 years the Chechen people lived without any prospects. We have finally acquired allies in this world who can help us. Justice towards the Chechens will triumph exactly thanks to the Ukrainians," he said.

Suleimanov also noted that it is with the assistance of the Free Ichkeria union that the Chechens, represented by the United Force movement, for the first time have the opportunity to make public at the world level the topic of the crimes of Russian occupiers in Chechnya, by analogy with those committed by them in Ukraine, and also to establish communications in the future with the states, first of all, with the countries of Eastern Europe.

As reported, the Free Ichkeria inter-faction union was set up in the Verkhovna Rada on December 14, 2022. Today, the union includes twelve members representing the Servant of the People, European Solidarity, and Holos parties.