Ten European foreign ministers, among them Romanian head of diplomacy Teodor Melescanu, have signed a joint statement condemning the illegal annexation of Crimea, ‘The Guardian’ informs.
“Five years ago, Russia gravely challenged the idea of a peaceful and free Europe. With its aggression against Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea, Russia openly demonstrated its contempt for the principles of international law, and presented a serious threat to European security.
Today, the people of Ukraine are more united than ever in their support for their country’s European orientation. Ukraine still has many demanding tasks and reforms to implement, but impressive progress has been made despite ongoing Russian aggression. Ukraine of today is profoundly different from Ukraine pre-2014, and has never before been so close to Europe and European values. By contrast, Crimea under Russian occupation is moving backwards. The people living there are ever more isolated, and the situation with respect to human rights and socio-economic conditions continues to deteriorate,” the statement reads.
“The illegal annexation of Crimea – an act condemned by the international community – has jeopardised the international rules-based system. The illegitimate “referendum” in Crimea on 16 March 2014 was judged illegal and invalid by the international community. During these past five years that community has called, in the strongest terms, for Ukraine’s territorial integrity to be restored. Sanctions and the non-recognition policy pursued by the EU, Nato and G7 member states reflect our common efforts, and our refusal to accept that the illegal occupation of any territory of a sovereign country can become the norm in the 21st century,” it further reads.
The statement argues that “providing help and assistance to Ukraine is crucial as Ukraine’s security is linked to the security of the whole of Europe. The policy of coordinated international sanctions sends a clear message to Russia that disregard for international law has consequences. We will neither forget nor abandon Crimea.”
The ten Foreign Ministers signatories are:
Edgars Rinkēvičs, minister of foreign affairs of Latvia
Pavlo Klimkin, minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine
Sven Mikser, minister of foreign affairs of Estonia
Linas Linkevičius, minister of foreign affairs of Lithuania
Jacek Czaputowicz, minister of foreign affairs of Poland
Margot Wallström, minister of foreign affairs of Sweden
Anders Samuelsen, minister of foreign affairs of Denmark
Chrystia Freeland, minister of foreign affairs of Canada
Teodor Meleşcanu, minister of foreign affairs of Romania
Jeremy Hunt, Britain’s secretary of state for foreign and Commonwealth affairs
Tomáš Petříček, minister of foreign affairs of the Czech Republic
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