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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania, the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
The EU does not and will not recognise the illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. The European Union remains steadfast in its commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Russia's actions are in blatant breach of international law and key principles of international order. They are a violation of the UN Charter, which prohibits the use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of any State. Moreover, they violate Russia's international and bilateral commitments and the principles of regional European security and stability, enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris - foundations of the OSCE, as well as of the Budapest Memorandum of 1994. As stated in the resolution 68/262, which was supported by the vast majority of the UN General Assembly, the so-called referendum organised by Russia on the peninsula in March 2014, has no legal validity, was a breach of Ukraine’s constitution and thus cannot form a basis for alteration of the status of Crimea and Sevastopol. The European Union calls on all UN Member States to remain steadfast in their policy of non-recognition of Russia’s illegal annexation, in line with the UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262.
Since the illegal annexation, the militarisation of the peninsula by Russia has had a negative impact on the security situation in the Black Sea region as a whole. The building of the Kerch Strait bridge without Ukraine’s consent and the subsequent arbitrary inspection regime at the Kerch Strait limits the navigation to and from Ukrainian ports, with negative economic consequences for Ukraine's economy and ports in the Azov Sea as well as to third countries. We are seriously concerned about transfers by the Russian Federation of highly destabilizing weapons systems to Crimea and military personnel to the territory of Ukraine. Multiple military exercises of Russian armed forces have been held in Crimea, which undermine regional security and entail considerable long-term negative environmental consequences in the region. As documented in the reports by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Russian citizenship and compulsory conscription in the armed forces of the Russian Federation have been imposed on Crimean residents. This is in breach of international humanitarian law.
As the EU has repeatedly called for, and as stated also in the UN General Assembly resolution 74/17 of December 2019, it is crucial that Russia withdraws its military forces from Crimea and ends its illegal annexation of Crimea without delay. We call upon all Member States to cooperate with the United Nations to encourage and support efforts to that end and to refrain from any dealings with the Russian Federation regarding Crimea that are inconsistent with this aim, or could be seen as an implicit recognition of this violation of international law. In this regard we urge the Russian Federation to ensure safe, secure, unconditional and unimpeded access of all international monitoring mechanisms, including the OSCE SMM, to the illegally annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
The European Union remains committed to fully implement its policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, which is based on the obligation not to recognize as lawful a situation created by a serious breach of international law, including through sanctions.