The News Feature “Out in the cold” (R. Stone, 8 April, p. 140) aims to report on the state of science and scientists in the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine, post-occupation by the Russian Federation. We were dismayed to see it under the heading “Science in Russia.” This is in stark disagreement with UN General Resolution 68/262, which calls for no actions interpretable as recognizing the alteration in status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (1). We call upon Science to publish an apology for the article's inappropriate placement and to henceforth refrain from publishing articles that suggest Crimea to be under Russian jurisdiction.
The News story invokes a picture that is very different from the reality in Crimea: Occupation authorities prosecute everyone who dares express an opinion opposing the annexation (2, 3). The story demonstrates the division among Crimean scientists, but it misses the more important point: the unambiguous illegality of the Crimean annexation and the appropriation of Ukrainian state property worth billions of dollars by the Russian Federation (4, 5), including the astronomical observatory, museums, priceless archives, and the institutes mentioned in the story. Moreover, the quotes in the article literally recite slogans of the Russian propaganda (6) reminiscent of the Soviet information warfare adopted and perfected by the Kremlin regime (7, 8). Willingly or not, Science lends its high reputation to this propaganda.
We call upon the international academic community to show solidarity with Ukrainian scholars and to comply with international law that does not recognize the annexation of Crimea. We firmly believe that the scientific endeavor can be successful only in a free and democratic state, which Ukrainians strive to build. What science in Ukraine needs is assistance in implementing structural reforms and support of its closer integration into the broader international academic community. This is the only strategy that would also help science in Crimea in the long run.
А руководство журнала теперь кается:
The placement of this piece under the general heading “Science in Russia” was not meant as an endorsement of Russia's annexation of Crimea, and we apologize for any suggestion otherwise. Our story made it clear that most countries view the annexation as illegal, and we gave a detailed account of the takeover of scientific facilities and the exodus of Ukrainian scientists.