On the eve of the third anniversary of the annexation of Crimea to Russia, which will be celebrated on 18 March, the European Union issued a statement condemning the “illegal annexation” of the Peninsula and the state of human rights in Crimea. The document was published in Russian on the website of the European external action service (EEAS).
The statement stressed that it is made by the head of service Federica Mogherini on behalf of the European Union. This means that the text of the document approved by foreign Ministers of all 28 countries of the Association.
“Over the past year, the continued militarization of the Peninsula continued to influence the situation in the field of security in the Black sea region, and the situation with human rights in the Crimean Peninsula continued to deteriorate,” reads the EU statement.
As in the previous year, Brussels called on all countries within the UN, to join the sanctions regime that is based on UN General Assembly resolution of 27 March 2014, condemning the conduct of “illegal referendum” and the subsequent accession of Crimea to Russia.
In addition, the EU Ministers recalled that last year the UN General Assembly adopted another resolution on Crimea concerning human rights. The resolution 71/205 from 19 December 2016, the General Assembly condemned “discriminatory practices” of the Russian authorities and called on the UN Secretary General “to find ways and means” to send to the Crimea the international observers mission.
Speaking about the violation of human rights, Brussels urges Russia to drop charges against Crimean Tatar activists, Deputy Chairman of the Majlis of Akhtem chigusa, and Ilmi Umerov.
Chiygoz was detained in January 2015 on suspicion of organizing mass riots. In December 2016 the Crimean court has extended his arrest until 8 April 2017. Umerov was arrested in may 2016 on charges of public appeals to violation of territorial integrity of Russia. In September, he was released under recognizance not to leave.
The EU also drew attention to the Director Oleg Sentsov, activist Oleksandr Kolchenko, whom a Russian Military court sentenced in August 2015 to 20 and ten years respectively for the “creation of a terrorist community”. Brussels reiterated its call for their immediate release.
On the eve of the third anniversary of the Crimean referendum on 16 March 2014 their statement was released by the U.S. Department of state. “Crimea is part of Ukraine. United States reiterates its condemnation of the Russian occupation of the Peninsula and urge to stop it immediately, said Agency spokesman mark Toner. — Our sanctions related to the Crimea will remain in force as long as Russia will not give the Peninsula back to Ukraine.”