The other day Russian prosecutor of Crimea Natalia Poklonska said, that her department started preliminary investigation into the fact of creation of "Asker" platoon, which one is a part of the "Noman Chelebidzhihan" battalion. Obviously, such statements are response to the recent remarks of Crimean Tatar national leader, Mustafa Dzhemilev. By the way, according Poklonska, a separate procedural decision will be made in point of Dzhemilev.
The point is that while commenting on the process of creating Crimean Tatar battalion on the administrative border with annexed Crimea, the deputy supposed that in case of escalation of conflict on the peninsula, the members of the organization will have to "to come to their fellow-citizen’s relief". "That's why they call themselves "suicide battalion", – Dzhemilev said, meaning the potential result of such actions.
Despite the fact that Crimean Tatar leader merely expressed an assumption about possible tasks and actions that the battalion can perform, and focused on the principles of non-violent struggle, the news about Crimean Tatars who are "ready to fight to the death with the occupier", caused a big stir in information space, and continues to be discussed actively.
For truth's sake it should be noted that the aims of Crimean Tatar battalion were not specifically announced initially. And the battalion changed repeatedly it’s rhetoric to more radical side in relation to tasks which it can perform, in last five months.
The history of Crimean Tatar battalion n. a. Noman Chelebidzhihan starts in December 2015. At that time the headquarters of Civil blockade of Crimea published an information about creating of the organization and called to join the battalion without telling any details about it’s future goals. One month later the head of the headquarters Lenur Islyamov said the battalion would be a part of the National Guard and the Armed Forces of Ukraine and that it would prepare for entering Crimea in order to "clear the peninsula of separatists who settled down there."
In turn, in March 2016 the Mejlis leader Refat Chubarov said that Crimean Tatar battalion would be peaceful and would not make any special combatant operations for the liberation of the peninsula. "First of all, the matter concerns the fact, when Ukraine will be entering Crimea after Russia’s leaving, there will be necessity to fill this vacuum, including these security forces. I exclude the possibility of special combat actions near or inside Crimea for the liberation of the peninsula", – Chubarov said.
Two months later, the battalion changed it’s rhetoric again, and Islyamov again spoke about the armed liberation of Crimea.
"We believe we need to prepare for an armed liberation of Crimea, not to sit idly and to think that it is not the Ukrainian history anymore, as many officials say, but the world history, and that the entire international community will liberate Crimea. If we, people of Crimea and Ukraine, do not start to advance to Crimea, we will never liberate it. Battalion was created for these goals», – he gave a commentary to QirimInfo.
Mustafa Dzhemilev said last week, that in the near future the battalion would be stationed in Kherson region on the border with Crimea for reinforcement of the Ukrainian administrative border surveillance. Also he noted that the main task of this battalion was not armed resistance on the mainland Ukraine. "We don’t exclude that, if some bloody things starts in Crimea, probably, the battalion will come to their fellow-citizen’s relief, at all hazards," – Dzhemilev said. At that the deputy used the phrase "suicide battalion" again.
Lenur Islyamov is sure, Mustafa Dzhemilev gave them such name specially. He pays attention on religious aspect: according Islyamov, it is honor for Sunni Muslims, who are in the battalion, to die for their people and for the liberation of their own territory.
He notes that the pressure on Crimean Tatars is increasing every day, what means that the occupation authorities can venture to make Crimean Tatars leave the peninsula eventually.
"If it happens, it will be a signal for us for entering Crimea. At this point we are aware that everybody, who will go to Crimea to liberate it, will die. Mustafa Dzhemilev spoke about that too. It is important, that Russian occupier knows: we do not need orders. The order of Mustafa Dzhemilev will be enough to enter Crimea. We know how to enter Crimea, moreover, we are already in Crimea. We are ready for certain things. If it (Russia – ed.) is going to shed blood of Crimean Tatars, they should know there will be the reverse side of this process immediately, and we will provide that side, – Islyamov says.
Crimean political scientist Lenora Dyulberova, commented the creation of a "death battalion", and expresses an opinion that this issue "has not been run" in Crimean Tatar community directly on the peninsula.
"We never had any armed groups or battalions in our history. All National Movement is absolutely democratic and non-violent. It is exactly like that, because it corresponds with our understanding of struggle for our rights", – she explains.
Dyulberova says, such an extensive discussion of the topic caused by fears of Crimean people about possible consequences of participation in the battalion or even public expression positive opinion about it.
"Not everybody supports such kind of actions, and there are some reasons for that. We are here in a very concrete conditions. Suh criminal cases as "February 26", “Hizb ut-Tahrir”, “Mejlis” are opened in Crimea. It is possible, that they can open a case, let's call it, with "firing" article against the battalion", – she says.
The political scientist thinks, the statements and actions of Islyamov can be regarded as a way of making a hybrid war against the occupying authorities at this stage.
"We need to understand that his comments and remarks contains more emotions than efficiency. That is, we understand that none of battalions, nor "Asker" neither "Azov" will not enter Crimea without decision on the state level. If they can consider it as hybrid war, for us it is absolutely real here", – Dyulberova summarizes.
QirimInfo has interviewed Crimean Tatars, and in general, they relate positively to the idea of creating Crimean Tatar battalion, but skeptically to it’s real actions.
"I am sure that it won't run to that [the battalion’s entering Crimea], because the balance of forces is clearly against them. Moreover, I do not see a military solution of this issue, and it's not just my opinion, but the opinion of my environment. On the other hand, I understand the motives and fully share the goals of Islyamov", – Ayder from Dzhankoy says.
Another Crimean Tatar Rustem from Simferopol also relates positively to existence of armed groups on the administrative border with Crimea, arguing their actions as a "deterrent" in Kherson region. He characterizes the battalion as "an alternative for those who want to be in the Ukrainian army".