Joint statement on the second anniversary of the Russian Federation’s illegal occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

(Ukrainian text here.)

It is two years since the Russian Federation illegally annexed the Crimea under the false pretexts of restoring “ historical justice"; acting in accordance with "the will of the people of Crimea"; and "protecting the local Russian-speaking population."

The annexation of Crimea remains a gross violation of international law, and continues to pose the biggest challenge to European and international security since the Second World War.

The Russian Federation has brazenly destroyed the existing balance of power in the region and once again proved that its foreign policy is not consistent with its international legal obligations.

Russia views signed international accords (such as the implementation of the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of the Council of Europe, the Budapest Memorandum, and bilateral agreements with Ukraine) as paper exercises which can be perverted to further her imperialistic ambitions.

The whole of the civilized world condemned the annexation of Crimea and introduced sanctions against the Russian Federation. These must remain in force until Ukraine’s control over the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is fully restored. 

The Russian Federation is responsible for appropriating and causing more than £40 billion worth of damage to state property of Ukraine in the Crimea. At the same time, it is also clear that the Crimea has no economic future while it remains under the control of the Russian Federation.

We are extremely concerned to note that since Russia’s invasion of the Crimea, its puppet government has turned the peninsula into a "grey zone" and a territory of fear in which fundamental human rights and the rights of national minorities are deliberately and systematically violated.  Persecution on political and ethnic grounds continues with impunity, together with intimidation, abduction, deprivation of national and cultural needs (including the right to education), denial of the right to property, restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly. The Russian backed authorities cynically cover up these illegal abuses under the pretext of an alleged war against terrorism.

The main victims of repression are the indigenous population of the peninsula - the Crimean Tatars and pro-Ukrainian  activists and citizens who support the sovereignty of Ukraine and who do not want to relinquish their Ukrainian citizenship. Some 20,000 Crimean Tatars have been forced to flee the occupied peninsula while the total number of internally displaced people is over 35,000.

The Crimean issue needs to remain on the global agenda. However it is also vitally important that all international organizations and institutions refrain from all forms of collaboration which might be construed as implying recognition of the illegally occupied status of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Ukraine has initiated the creation of an international process whose main objective will be to work towards the liberation of the peninsula, focusing on humanitarian, environmental, economic and maritime issues and on the status and security of Crimea itself.

Ukraine and Ukrainians worldwide will continue to pursue the liberation of the Crimean peninsula and the full restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders for the protection of all fundamental rights of citizens of Ukraine who are currently living in temporarily occupied territories.

Russia will be held liable for all state-sanctioned crimes committed in occupied territories.

Crimea was, is and remains Ukrainian!


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