Via video link, a top Ukrainian diplomat and the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Monday discussed the situation of persecuted Muslims in the occupied Crimean Peninsula.

“It was a pleasure to speak with Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation [OIC] Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen,” Emine Dzheppar, Ukraine’s first deputy foreign minister, said on Twitter.

“Elaborated on violations by Russian occupants of the rights of Crimean Tatars-Muslims in Crimea, and on Crimean platform which is aimed at consolidating Int’l efforts to free Crimea. I also renewed our application for obtaining Ukraine of observer’s status at the Organisation,” she added.

Russian forces entered the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014, with Russian President Vladimir Putin formally dividing the region into two separate federal subjects of the Russian Federation the following month.

Since then, Crimean Tatars have continued their struggle for Ukraine’s territorial integrity against Russian occupation.

Crimea’s ethnic Tatars have faced persecution since Russia’s takeover of the peninsula, a situation Turkey has decried.

Turkey and the US, as well as the UN General Assembly, view the annexation as illegal.

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