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International response to ‘Referendum’ in Crimea: Referendum illegal, illegitimate – will not recognize the results

International response to ‘Referendum’ in Crimea: Referendum illegal, illegitimate – will not recognize the results


NATO: “We consider the so-called referendum held on 16 March in Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea to be both illegal and illegitimate. The referendum violated the Ukrainian Constitution and international law, and Allies do not recognise its results.” (North Atlantic Council, 17 March 2014)

Canada: “The so-called referendum held today was conducted with Crimea under illegal military occupation. Its results are a reflection of nothing more than Russian military control … This ‘referendum’ is illegitimate, it has no legal effect, and we do not recognize its outcome.” (Prime Minister Stephen Harper, 16 March 2014)

United States: “The United States has steadfastly supported the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine since it declared its independence in 1991, and we reject the “referendum” that took place today in the Crimean region of Ukraine.  This referendum is contrary to Ukraine’s constitution, and the international community will not recognize the results of a poll administered under threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention that violates international law.” (Office of the Press Secretary, White House, 16 March 2014)

European Union: “As stated by all 28 EU Heads of State or Government on 6 March 2014, the European Union considers the holding of the referendum on the future status of the territory of Ukraine as contrary to the Ukrainian Constitution and international law. The referendum is illegal and illegitimate and its outcome will not be recognised.” (President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso on Crimea, 16 March 2014)

France: “The Russian President has today signed a treaty integrating Crimea into Russia. This act comes after the holding of a referendum in Crimea which is illegal under Ukrainian and international law. I condemn this decision. France recognizes neither the results of the referendum held in Crimea on 16 March nor the incorporation of that region of Ukraine into Russia.” (President François Hollande, 18 March 2014)

United Kingdom: “Any vote that goes ahead on the 16th of March cannot be considered a legitimate reflection of the wishes of the people of Crimea or the people of Ukraine … In addition to question of legality and legitimacy, it is equally clear that a fair and free referendum cannot take place while Crimea is under the illegal control of Russian troops and armed militias who are denying access to international monitors. In the light of these concerns, if the referendum goes ahead on the 16th of March, the results must be considered illegal and illegitimate by all nations.” (Permanent Representative of the UK to the United Nations Mark Lyall Grant, 10 March 2014)

Sweden: “No country has any right whatsoever to intervene militarily in the territory of another state. Talk of protecting one’s own citizens in this way is a pretext here, as it was in Georgia in August 2008, but it is a pretext that is also fundamentally unacceptable … We will never recognise or accept that parts of its territory are torn away from the country through an act of military aggression.” (Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt, 14 March 2014)

Italy: “Italy, along with its European partners, considers the referendum on the secession of Crimea illegitimate, and supports the resolution discussed yesterday in the United Nations Security Council.” (Minister of Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, 16 March 2014)

Spain: “Spain will not recognise the result of a referendum that, as previously indicated, is contrary to the Constitution of Ukraine and international law.” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 15 March 2014)

Finland: “The referendum that is held in Crimea today is against the Ukrainian constitution and, as such, illegal – it will only aggravate the situation further.” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 16 March 2014)

Lithuania: “We once again stress that the referendum on the legal status of Crimea to be held tomorrow is in conflict with the Constitution of Ukraine, in conflict with the Constitution of Crimea itself, and therefore should be regarded as unlawful, illegitimate, null and void.” (Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the United Nations Raimonda Murmokaitė, 15 March 2014)

Türkiye: “The result of the unlawful and illegitimate ‘referendum’ held in Crimea on Sunday, 16 March 2014, and the de facto situation that will prevail following the steps that will be taken in conjunction with this referendum will not bear any legal validity for Türkiye and will not be recognized.” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 17 March 2014)

Georgia: “The Georgian Foreign Ministry does not recognize the referendum conducted in Crimea on the 16th of March 2014 amid pressure from Russian armed forces, in defiance of the universally recognized norms and principles of International Law, with complete disregard for the Ukrainian national laws. Russia’s attempt to annex Crimea represents a blatant violation of the commitments it has undertaken both under the multilateral and bilateral agreements.”  (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 16 March 2014)

Australia: “The referendum to be held tomorrow in Crimea is dangerous and destabilising. It is unauthorised and  invalid. The international community will not recognise the result …” (Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations Gary Quinlan, 15 March 2014)

Compiled by Borys Vasylyshyn and Lesia Stangret

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