EU, NATO restate condemnation of Russian annexation of Crimea on five year anniversary
The European Union and NATO have reaffirmed their opposition to Russia’s annexation of Crimea which took place five years ago today.
“The European Union reiterates that it does not recognise and continues to condemn this violation of international law,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.
The statement also said the EU considered Russia’s actions “a direct challenge to international security, with grave implications for the international legal order that protects the territorial integrity, unity, and sovereignty of all states.”
“The past five years have brought systematic restrictions of fundamental freedoms and violations of the rights of the Crimean Tatars.” Mogherini said adding that “many others have been sentenced by Russia in breach of international law.”
In its own statement, NATO called on Russia put an immediate stop to the violence and abuse of power in the illegally annexed territory. According to the Alliance, attempts to legitimize and normalize this move must stop, including illegal election campaigns, automatic Russian citizenship, resettlement, and forced Russian levies.
NATO said that the violations of international law perpetrated in Crimea “include extrajudicial killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, violence, arbitrary detentions, arrest, and torture. Despite the 2017 Order of the International Court of Justice, the Mejlis, the Crimean Tatars’ self-governing body, remains under persecution and is banned in its homeland.
On March 18, 2014, Putin signed a treaty that Moscow claims made Ukraine’s Crimea region part of Russia, after Russian forces seized control of the peninsula and organized a referendum that was not recognized by the international community.
Ukraine and the West have slammed Russia’s move as an “illegal” annexation, leading to sanctions against Russian individuals and entities.