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Crimea: 7 years of violations of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity

12.03.2021  17:53

New York, 12 March 2021

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries – Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Denmark.

Seven years on since the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty continues to be violated by the Russian Federation. Russia’s actions have not only endangered the security in Europe, but also weakened the basis for international cooperation. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is a blatant breach of international law, violate the UN Charter and is therefore of global concern. For this reason, we welcome this timely meeting.

The position of the Nordic countries is firm. We do not and we will not recognise the illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We remain steadfast in our commitment to international law and Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, including its territorial waters. We are fully committed to the EU’s non-recognition policy, including restrictive measures. We urge Russia to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine in accordance with the UN General Assembly resolution 68/262. 

Honourable Chair,

We are deeply worried by the constantly deteriorating human rights situation in Crimea. We remain concerned about the arbitrary detentions and politically motivated convictions, especially of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians, as well as the increasing pressure on journalists and other media actors, human rights defenders and civil society actors.

Neither the rights to freedom of expression, religion or belief, peaceful assembly and association, economic, social and cultural rights nor the freedom of media are respected.

As also 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. These actions are in breach of international law and violate the rules and principles that Russia has committed to. We call on Russia to abide by its international obligations and respect its obligations under international law as the occupying Power.

As stated in a number of UN General Assembly resolutions on the human rights situation in Crimea, we urge Russia to immediately and unconditionally release all arbitrarily detained and imprisoned Ukrainian nationals held in Crimea and Russia. We urge Russia to ensure international humanitarian actors and international representatives and monitors full and unhindered access to the areas currently not under the control of Ukraine, including the Crimean peninsula.

We express grave concern regarding the continuing militarisation of Crimea which undermines the security in the whole Black Sea region. The discriminatory inspection regime at the Kerch Strait limits navigation to and from Ukrainian ports with negative economic consequences for Ukraine and third countries. We also call for Russia 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.

Honourable Chair,

The Nordic countries reiterate their firm support for Ukraine. We are convinced that the respect for international law and a rules-based world order are fundamental for our common security and multilateral cooperation. We call on members of the international community to remain steadfast in their non-recognition policies in line with the resolution 68/262. We urge Russia to abide by international law, including international humanitarian law, and uphold its international commitments. We call for the Secretary General and the UN to continue their efforts to restore respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.

Thank you Chair.