In recent days, we have been witnesses to an artificial information campaign regarding the Russian occupation administration continuously coercing Ukrainian citizens of Crimea to obtain Russian passports since March 2014.
The coercion of citizens into obtaining Russian passports has been an element of oppression policies of the aggressor state against the citizens of Ukraine, who are forced to live under its occupation.
By the act of illegal occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, Russia grossly violated both Ukrainian and international law.
The Law of Ukraine “On Ensuring the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and Legal Regime in the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine” of April 15, 2014 stipulates clearly that forceful automatic acquisition of Russian citizenship by the citizens of Ukraine residing in the temporarily occupied territory is not recognized by Ukraine, and cannot be considered the grounds for the loss of citizenship of Ukraine. Article 45 of the (IV) Convention respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land of 1907 forbids to compel the inhabitants of an occupied territory to swear allegiance to the hostile power, thus forbidding a forcible change of citizenship.
The coercion of citizens into obtaining Russian citizenship is also a premeditated and cynically executed element of systematic oppression of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian occupation administration.
Ukrainian citizens, who are living in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, are in fact denied any right of choice.
Opportunities to renounce Russian citizenship were from the start severely limited through the scarcity of institutions processing this type of applications and extremely tight deadlines for submitting the applications.
Besides, if residents of Crimea refused to obtain Russian passports, they were artificially limited in their rights to employment, medical care, social and pension benefits. The absence of Russian passport often became the grounds for a forced deportation and ban to enter the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
Coercion into Russian citizenship has also been an integral part of persecution of pro-Ukrainian activists and journalists by the occupying power. The history of the occupation showed that the inhabitants of Crimea had every reason to fear that the occupation authorities would then make an "inventory" of opponents and targets for repression out of the lists of people, who were filing applications for the renunciation of Russian citizenship.
Ukrainian citizens were also forced to obtain Russian passports in order to keep their homes and property on the occupied peninsula. In this regard, a decree depriving Ukrainian citizens of the right to own land in the temporarily occupied Crimea, recently signed by President Vladimir Putin, became another step towards forcing the inhabitants of Crimea into Russian citizenship and a gross violation of international law.
Ukraine remains determined to protect the rights and interests of Ukrainian citizens living under occupation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
Crimea is Ukraine.
Six years have now passed since Russia attempted to make lawful their armed aggression against Ukraine and the military occupation of the Crimean peninsula, by holding an illegal, fake referendum on the status of Crimea.
The so-called referendum grossly violated the Constitution of Ukraine, the fundamental principles of international law and bilateral agreements.
The international community regards the actions of Moscow as completely illegal and the legal status of the so-called referendum as null and void.
Crimea is, and will continue to be, the sovereign territory of Ukraine.
The Consolidated position of the international community and decisions of key international organisations, including the UN, EU, NATO, Council of Europe, UNESCO, and international parliamentary organisations make it clear that the world will never agree with the annexation of Crimea de jure or de facto.
The occupant’s desire to consolidate their control over the illegally seized territory has dramatically worsened the situation on the peninsula, where human rights and freedoms are systematically violated, and political persecution is carried out both on religious and ethnic grounds.
Active militarisation is turning the peninsula into a powerful military base that threatens the security of Ukraine, the Black Sea region and Eastern Europe as a whole.
On the day of this sad anniversary, we express our support to all who continue to suffer from the authoritarian regime and occupation.
Ukraine calls on the international community to increase its further political, diplomatic and economic pressure on Moscow in order to liberate Crimea as soon as possible. Restoring peace and stability in Europe is impossible without ending Russian aggression.
By adopting on December 17, 2018 the United Nations General Assembly Resolution “Problem of the militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine), as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov”, the international community clearly expressed its position in support of territorial integrity of Ukraine and condemnation of aggression of the Russian Federation.
Despite desperate attempts of the Russian Federation to hamper the adoption of the document, the United Nations General Assembly once again condemned the temporary occupation by the Russian Federation of the Crimean peninsula and sent a clear message on the non-recognition of its attempted annexation. The Russian Federation must withdraw its military forces from Crimea and immediately stop the illegal occupation of the territory of Ukraine.
The occupation of Crimea, the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine by the Russian Federation is in contravention to its commitments made under the Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine’s Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Budapest Memorandum).
The Resolution expresses its utmost concern about unjustified use of force by the Russian Federation against three vessels of the Naval Forces of Ukraine in the Black Sea resulted in the serious wounding of individual crews members and calls on the Russian Federation to release without delay the vessels and their personnel.
Under the Russian occupation, Crimea has been transformed into the powerful military base, which threatens security and stability of the Black sea region, as well as Mediterranean and the Middle East.
The Resolution calls on the Russian Federation to refrain from impeding the lawful exercise of navigational rights and freedoms in the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait in accordance with applicable international law, in particular provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Important element of the Resolution is condemnation of Russia’s construction and opening of the Kerch Strait bridge as well as increase of Russian presence in the water areas of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
Wide support of Ukraine’s position concerning Crimea and condemnation of militarization of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov is a clear signal for the Russian Federation: Russian crimes and provocations will not stay beyond the attention of international community, and the aggressor state will respond for the violations of law.
Ukraine confirms its adherence to the political and diplomatic settlement of conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In this regard new resolution will be used in the context of Ukrainian efforts on deoccupation of the territory of our state, as well as renewal of stability in the Black Sea and Azov Sea region.
Ukraine is grateful for every state that gave its voice for the UN GA Resolution “Problem of the militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine), as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov”.
It is no longer a matter of surprise in Ukraine to what extent the Russian diplomacy has transformed into an instrument of Kremlin lies, blaming Ukraine in “preparing provocations”. However, this is yet another information operation. In fact, it is Russia that stationed 80 thousand ready for action troops and “Iskander” missile systems on the borders of Ukraine, and deployed to Crimea 100 Su-27 and Su-30 bombers of new modification capable to operate all across the depth of the Black Sea region and almost the entire territory of Ukraine. In the last two months alone, the number of Russian tanks on our border increased by 300 pieces. On 25 November 2018 Moscow committed the overt acts of armed aggression near the Kerch Strait and in the Black Sea. Now Minister Lavrov intimidates Ukraine and international community by “provocations”, looking for a propaganda and diplomatic disguise for Russian militarization of the occupied Crimea, Donbas and deployment of its offensive capabilities on the borders of Ukraine. Today this yet another lie by Russia will be refuted by the adoption of the UN GA resolution “The problem of militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine), as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov”. The sovereignty of Ukraine over Crimea and Donbas will be restored by politico-diplomatic instruments and international law, not by military means.
On 27 November 2018, Ukraine filed its responses to Russia’s jurisdictional objections in the ongoing arbitration proceedings between the two States under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“UNCLOS”). Ukraine’s responses establish that — despite Russia’s attempts to avoid scrutiny of its actions in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait — the UNCLOS tribunal has full authority to hear Ukraine’s case.
The underlying dispute between Ukraine and Russia relates to Russia’s unlawful exclusion of Ukraine from exercising its maritime rights; Russia’s unlawful exploitation of Ukraine’s sovereign resources for its own ends; and Russia’s unlawful usurpation of Ukraine’s right to regulate its own maritime areas. Through these violations of UNCLOS, Russia is stealing Ukraine’s energy and fisheries resources, harming the livelihoods of Ukrainian fishermen, and blocking traffic to Ukrainian ports with its illegal bridge over the Kerch Strait, among other serious violations.
Ukraine does not believe that the Russian Federation’s jurisdictional objections are valid or that they will be accepted by the Tribunal.
Ukraine expects that Russia must and will be held accountable for its serious breaches of the international law of the sea.
Provocative actions of the Russian Federation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov have transgressed all boundaries and become aggressive.
Ships of the Russian Federation, in violation of freedom of navigation, unlawfully used force against the ships of Ukrainian Naval Forces.
We consider such aggressive actions as a violation of the norms of the UN Charter and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Ukraine will take all appropriate measures to ensure diplomatic and legal response.
We will also inform our partners about the aggressive acts of the Russian Federation in the Sea of Azov. Such actions pose a threat for security of all states of the Black Sea Region, thus demand clear reaction of international community.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expresses its resolute protest over the illegitimate and unlawful actions by Russia in connection with sham “elections” held today in the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.
The current attempt by Russia to justify, organize and then legitimize a fake “voting” process in the occupied Donbas represents a flagrant violation of norms and principles of international law and Ukrainian legislation and constitutes a blatant breach of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
At the same time, Russia as a party to the armed conflict in Donbas and a signatory of the Minsk agreements again violated its commitments thereunder.
We reaffirm that the results of these sham “elections” will be null and void, have no legal consequences, and will not be recognized by either Ukraine or the international community. The only elections that can be legally held in Donbas are elections conducted in full compliance with Ukrainian legislation and OSCE standards under OSCE/ODIHR monitoring.
We are grateful to our international partners for having reaffirmed their continued support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
It is abhorrent that Russia has chosen to ignore the clear condemnation of the international community and its call to cancel the fake “elections”. Russia bears full responsibility for holding these illegal actions and for their devastating effect on the peace process.
We call on the international community to respond by stepping up political and economic pressure on the Kremlin and imposing new sanctions on the occupying state and those individuals, who were directly involved in organizing these sham “elections”.
Ukraine’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs protests strongly over the recent Mar.18, 2020 visit of President Putin of the Russian Federation to the Ukrainian sovereign territory under temporary occupation by Russia – the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and City of Sevastopol. This visit was not sanctioned by Ukraine.
Similar to previous such appearances of Russian officials in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and City of Sevastopol, Ukraine considers this visit to be a blatant violation by Russia of the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Furthermore, it demonstrates a glaring disregard for the universally established principles and norms of international law, including the UN Charter, resolutions of the UN General Assembly, and its own obligations under both bilateral and multilateral agreements, with Ukraine and the Russian Federation as signing parties.
Crimea and Sevastopol are, and will remain, an integral part of Ukraine’s sovereign territory. No visit of any Russian official to the occupied peninsular, as well as illegal construction of the so-called Crimean Bridge, shall not constitute any change in the status of these Ukrainian administrative territories as set out in the Constitution of Ukraine and recognised by the international community.
Ukrainian MFA has delivered a protest note to the Russian MFA in respect of President Putin’s visit to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and City of Sevastopol.
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