The reason for the UN intervention in the problem of water supply in Crimea was the catastrophic situation that developed on the peninsula after Ukraine cut off water supplies through the North Crimean Canal.
"The right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation has been recognized by the UN General Assembly as one of the human rights necessary for a full life and the full realization of all human rights", - Elizabeth Throssell quoted Radio Sputnik as saying.
The UN believes that the main responsibility for ensuring access to water for the population of Crimea should be borne by Russia, but in accordance with international human rights legislation, Ukraine is also "obliged to support the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights and constantly keep in mind the question of whether whether it can take measures to ensure an adequate standard of living for all persons in its territory".
An unprecedented drought has been recorded in Crimea this year. It exacerbated the water problem, aggravated after Ukraine unilaterally cut off the supply of water from the Dnieper, which entered Crimea through the North Crimean Canal. This canal provided up to 85% of Crimea's water needs. However, in 2017, the authorities of the Kherson region of Ukraine built a dam, which blocked the flow of water to Crimea.
This step was Ukraine's response to the results of the 2014 referendum, during which 96.77% of voters in the Republic of Crimea and 95.6% of Sevastopol residents spoke in favor of joining Russia. Ukraine accused Russia of illegally seizing the territory of Crimea, which Kiev still considers its own.
For several years, the Russian authorities have been trying to solve the problem of water supply to Crimea. However, the issue cannot be fundamentally resolved. According to preliminary data, in order to establish water supplies to Sevastopol, it is necessary to additionally allocate over 7.4 billion rubles from the budget. Meanwhile, against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and the associated economic collapse, the Russian government is forced to sequester funding for a number of important programs for the socio-economic development of the regions.
In 2021, reductions will affect many subjects of the Federation, including Crimea. According to the authorities of the republic, now the situation with the water supply of the peninsula is close to critical: less than 20% of the water reserves remain in the reservoirs, restrictions for consumers have been introduced in Simferopol and some settlements: water is turned on by the hour, its quality has noticeably deteriorated.
Earlier, Natalya Poklonskaya, Deputy Chairperson of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, said that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was stocking up additional information on the water supply to the peninsula and Ukraine's blocking of water supplies through the North Crimean Canal. The deputy noted that she had already prepared a request to the head of Crimea, Sergey Aksenov, to obtain information necessary for further interaction with the UN.
Director of the Institute of Contemporary State Development Dmitry Solonnikov called the current position of the UN purely political:
- In fact, the UN official bodies, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, will not interfere in the situation on the Russian side under any circumstances. They believe that Crimea is Ukrainian. Throssel has a purely political component in mind.
In turn, the Crimean political scientist Vladislav Ganzhara believes that, despite this, the UN supported the rights of the Crimeans.
- The reaction in the UN regarding Ukraine's responsibility for water supply to Crimea is a positive signal for us. Indeed, over the years, we have seen from the UN only resolutions that absolutely do not reflect the reality - either on the alleged violation of the rights of ethnic groups, then in general on the procedure for the reunification of Crimea with Russia. For the first time, we see the reaction of this international organization to the direct violation of the rights of two and a half million Crimeans by Ukraine. Over the course of six years, Kiev has imposed more than one blockade against the peninsula. We dealt with the consequences of all but one. Indeed, in fact, the North Crimean Canal, which was built in the Soviet years, and to which modern Ukraine has nothing to do, provided the peninsula with water. The situation with the closure of the channel is a gross violation of the rights of the people who live here. The reaction at the UN is a signal from the international community to protect the rights of Crimea.