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International Response to Annexation of Crimea

International Response to Annexation of Crimea
© Javier Jarrín / Ecuador / 2014

United Kingdom

Prime Minister David Cameron, 18 March 2014

“The steps taken by President Putin today to attempt to annex Crimea to Russia are in flagrant breach of international law and send a chilling message across the continent of Europe.”

“It is completely unacceptable for Russia to use force to change borders, on the basis of a sham referendum held at the barrel of a Russian gun. President Putin should be in no doubt that Russia will face more serious consequences …”

Foreign Secretary William Hague, 18 March 2014

“No amount of sham and perverse democratic process or skewed historical references can make up for the fact that this is an incursion into a sovereign state and a land-grab of part of its territory, with no respect for the law of that country or for international law.”

“…  Russia is attempting to find justifications in precedent or law to excuse its actions in Ukraine and to muddy the waters of international opinion. What we are actually witnessing is the annexation of part of the sovereign territory of an independent European state through military force. The fall of President Yanukovych and the change of government in Ukraine was a massive strategic setback for the Russian government, which had made no secret of its desire to prevent Ukraine from moving towards closer association with the EU. Seen in this light the annexation of Crimea is a bid to regain the advantage, to restore Russian prestige and permanently to impair Ukraine’s functioning as a country. And given that Russia still maintains it has the right to intervene militarily anywhere on Ukrainian soil, there is a grave risk that we have not yet seen the worst of this crisis.”

“If we do not stand up to such a profound breach of international agreements and the use of force to change borders in Europe in the 21st century, the credibility of the international order will be at stake and we will face more crises in the future.”


NATO Secretary General, 18 March 2014

“Russia has disregarded all calls to step back into line with international law and continues down the dangerous path. Russia continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and remains in blatant breach of its international commitments. There can be no justification to continue on this course of action that can only deepen Russia’s international isolation. Crimea’s annexation is illegal and illegitimate and NATO Allies will not recognise it.”


Foreign AffairsMinister John Baird, 18 March 2014

“Canada, along with its partners and allies, did not recognize and will not recognize this illegal annexation of Crimea. The treaty signed to annex Crimea is an illegitimate and deliberate violation of the Constitution of the people of Ukraine.”

“Canada stands solely with those seeking a peaceful and prosperous Ukraine. We stand resolutely against those who seek to use Soviet style tactics to intimidate, occupy and annex democratic neighbours.”

European Union

President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, 18 March 2014

“The sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine must be respected. The European Union does neither recognise the illegal and illegitimate referendum in Crimea nor its outcome. The European Union does not and will not recognise the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation.”

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, 20 March 20 2014

“What is happening in Ukraine is unacceptable and must never be repeated anywhere.”


Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, 19 March 2014

“I condemn in the strongest terms Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move to annex the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. The unauthorised vote in Crimea on 16 March, carried out while Russian forces were effectively in control of the territory, cannot form the legitimate basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea.”

United State

National Security Advisor Susan Rice, 21 March 2014

“… [I]n the years since the ending of the Cold War, the United States and Europe, and indeed the international community have proceeded along a path where we’ve made clear that our interest was in more fully integrating Russia,  politically and economically, into Europe and into, indeed, the fabric of the international system and the global economy.  But that was predicated on an expectation that Russia would play by the rules of the road, the economic and security rules of the road, international law and the norms and principles that govern responsible international action.

What we have seen in Ukraine is obviously a very egregious departure from that …

You saw a stark example of that … in the UN Security Council last weekend, where Russia was alone, even without China, in insisting that its actions in Ukraine had any international legitimacy.  The rest of the world has said absolutely clearly that they reject and will never accept the annexation of Crimea, that this is an act that is in blatant violation of international laws and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and it will have consequences…”


President François Hollande, 18 March 2014

“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, 20 March 2014

“What has happened in Ukraine, and more specifically in Crimea, is unacceptable. It can’t be tolerated that borders are moved and a region passes from one country to another, without the international community being required to act. This is what Europe must do …”


Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18 March 2014

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses utter disagreement with the Russian Federation’s action to annex the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. This is an illegitimate act and runs counter to the fundamental principles of international law, infringing particularly on the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighbouring Ukraine. Taking such steps, the Russian Federation regrettably appears to choose  international  political, economic and military isolation over dialogue and cooperation.”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs unequivocally states that, along with its European and Euro-Atlantic partners, Romania will not recognize the act of annexing the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, an integral part of the state of Ukraine.”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers that the reality which the unilateral attempts today are meant to build, in violation of international law, is deeply worrisome and dangerous since it may generate destabilizing effects throughout the region. Annexation by another state of a region that is part of an independent and sovereign state represents an unprecedented breach of international law, of all norms and principles guiding us today in the community of democratic states. The action today annuls the results of decades of dialogue and cooperation aimed at building a united Europe, without partition lines, such as it was outlined in the Helsinki Final Act and in the Charter of Paris for a New Europe.”


Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Bildt, 18 March 2014

“Since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet empire, we have tried to build a new peace and security order in Europe. The building blocks have been placed one after the other to make it as solid as possible. It has been important to take certain basic principles as a starting point, and ensure that they are accepted by all states and actors. One of these principles is accepting and respecting the borders between states in Europe …

Borders can be altered, certainly, but only through peaceful agreements between the states concerned. What is happening now is that Russia is attempting, via a military intervention in Ukraine, to detach Crimea and incorporate the peninsula into Russia in some way.

We in the EU have made it clear that this is an act of aggression, and that it fundamentally contravenes that basic principle of respect for borders.

… If we now suddenly accept that countries no longer have to accept European borders, and that they have the right to military intervention in other countries because they consider their interests to be in jeopardy, we risk the complete collapse of the entire European peace and security order that we have tried to build.”


Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18 March 2014

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns the Treaty to incorporate the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation signed on Tuesday in Moscow.

These two territorial entities are an integral part of Ukraine.

The document violates international standards and rules established after World War II, undermines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and contradicts the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances for Ukraine signed by Russia in December 1994, Russia-Ukraine bilateral agreements, and Russian declarations of good will and readiness for dialogue.

Poland does not recognise either the decisions taken in Moscow on 18 March 2014 or the referendum conducted in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol two days before, which was illegal and did not comply with international standards. We are joining the international community in its criticism of these actions.”


Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 19 March 2014

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania condemns the signing of the agreement between the Russian Federation, Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol on 18 March 2014 as a serious violation of international law: the UN Charter, provisions of the Helsinki Final Act, the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, other international agreements as well as bilateral agreements between Russia and Ukraine.”

“We call Russia’s action an illegal annexation of the Ukrainian sovereign territory and do not recognise the illegal joining of parts of the territory of sovereign Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”

“We reiterate our strong support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“We urge the international community to not to recognise the Russian annexation, to clearly and unambiguously condemn Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and to take responsive measures.”


Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 19 March 2014

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, confirming its position concerning the referendum held in Crimea on March 16, regards the changing of the legal status of Crimea as illegitimate and unlawful.”

“The Russian Federation, with signing the March 18 agreement with the Crimean Autonomous Republic and Sevastopol on their joining the Russian Federation, violated international legal norms and deepened the conflict with Ukraine.”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates that it remains committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”

Czech Republic

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 19 March 2014

“Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns Russia’s steps towards annexation of Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea and considers Russia’s approach an unprecedented breach of international law and obligations of Russian Federation as well as a threat to peaceful coexistence of nations in Europe. We consider recognition of Crimea’s independence dated March 17 and decision on accession of Crimean peninsula into Russian Federation dated March 18 as totally unacceptable.”

“The Czech Republic, taking into account its own history of the 1930s, is very sensitive to Russia’s current actions and will never consent to undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity and annexation of Crimea.”


Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18 March 2014

“As underlined by the Ministry, the referendum held on Sunday, 16 March 2014, on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was contrary to the Ukrainian constitution and international law. In compliance with the above, Slovenia does not recognise its results and related decisions.”

“Procedures conducted by the Russian Federation with a view to annexing the Autonomous Republic of Crimea are a violation of the basic international legal principles regulating relations in the modern international community.”

South Korea

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 19 March 2014

“1. The government of the Republic of Korea already expressed serious concern over the latest developments in Ukraine.

2. Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence must be respected.

3. The ROK government will not recognize Crimea’s referendum and Russia’s annexation of Crimea.”


Minister for Foreign Affairs, 18 March 2014

“The referendum in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine violates the constitution of Ukraine. It has no legal effect and Japan does not recognize its outcome.”

“Japan deplores that Russia has recognized independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea which infringes on unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Japan can never overlook an attempt to change the status quo with force in the background.”

“Japan strongly urges Russia to withdraw its recognition of independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and not to attempt annexation of that, observing international law and respecting Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Japan also expresses grave concern and apprehension over increasing tensions in the eastern part of Ukraine.”

Compiled by Borys Vasylyshyn and Lesia Stangret

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