European Union again calls on Russian Federation to return Crimea to Ukraine - Mogherini

Hannah Rogers
March 19, 2018

Sunday's date March 18 will mark four years since Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty that declared Crimea part of Russia following its annexation from Ukraine, a move that led to the outbreak of a pro-Kremlin insurgency in the industrial east of the ex-Soviet country in April 2014.

"Four years after the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and (the city of) Sevastopol, France remains firmly attached to the full restoration of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognised borders", the French statement said.

Under the sanctions imposed by the European Union against the Russian Federation, it is forbidden to provide and use organised tourism services in the territory of the illegally annexed Crimea and it is forbidden to purchase real estate or companies, as well to carry out any kind of financial transactions in Crimea, it said, warning that "The violation of sanctions imposed by the European Union will be prosecuted under Section 84 of the Criminal Law of the Republic of Latvia".

"It is a blatant violation of global obligations, worldwide law, and violation of our citizens' rights", Maya Grishina said. "It remains a direct challenge to global security, with grave implications for the worldwide legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all States", reads the statement. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russian Federation.

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The EU also condemned the militarization of the peninsula that continues to impact the security situation in the Black Sea region.

The State Department reaffirmed on Wednesday that the United States views the Crimean peninsula as a part of Ukraine, not Russian Federation.

However, in Crimea's Tatar towns, like historical Bakhchisaray, the mood is different.

"Together with the democratic worldwide community, we reiterate our call on Russian Federation to stop the occupation of Crimea and withdraw from its strategy of using force as a means of pursuing foreign policy".

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