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Comment by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine with regard to the illegitimate resolution “On Independence of Crimea” of 17 March 2014
17 March 2014 22:02

On 17 March 2014 the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, by its illegitimate composition, adopted a resolution “On independence of Crimea”. In this regard the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of Ukraine states the following:

  1. The Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, by adopting a resolution №1702-6/14 “On Holding all-Crimean Referendum” of 6 March 2014 violated the constitutional principle of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and stepped beyond its mandate, given by the Constitution of Ukraine, the Constitution of the Autonomous republic of Crimea and other legislative and normative acts.

The fact of violation has been clearly established by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. In its decision №2-рп/2014 of 14 March 2014 the Court declared the aforementioned resolution unconstitutional, making this document legally void.

2. Taking into account the decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, on 15 March 2014 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a Resolution №891-VII, deciding to terminate early the powers of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which, hence, lost its legitimacy.

3. In defiance of legitimate actions by Ukraine as a territorial sovereign, within the jurisdiction of which the Autonomous Republic of Crimea falls, the self-proclaimed authorities of the Crimean peninsula held on 16 March 2014 a “plebiscite”, violating not only the Ukrainian legislation in force, but the fundamental norms of international law, enshrined in the UN Charter, the 1975 CSCE Final Act and other CSCE/OSCE concluding documents, the 1991 Agreement on establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States etc.        

Numerous evidences, including photo and video materials, eyewitness accounts of events, including foreign citizens, prove that the conditions of the so-called “referendum” failed to meet democratic standards of holding referendums, developed in the framework of the OSCE and the Council of Europe.

Serious concerns over the free expression of the will by the population of this Ukrainian region, exist due to the fact that the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has been de-facto under occupation by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation since 26 February 2014.

4. Based on the results of this pseudo-democratic “expression of the will” the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which powers had been terminated in a constitutional manner, adopted on 17 March 2014 a resolution, whereby “proclaimed Crimea an independent and sovereign state, wherein the city of Sevastopol has a special status” and addressed the UN and all the states with a call “to recognize an independent state, founded by the peoples of Crimea”.        

5. Taking into account that the independence of Crimea has been proclaimed by the illegitimate body on the basis of unconstitutional referendum, being held with flagrant violations of the European norms and standards of holding referendums, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine appeals to all the members of the international community with an insistent request to refrain from international recognition of the “Republic of Crimea”.

6. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine emphasizes that modern international law envisages the generally accepted commitment by states not to recognize self-proclaimed quasi-state entities or any situation, linked to their existence if they are results of illegal use of force. Opinio juris on this issue has been repeatedly expressed in conventional and declarative international instruments, in the practice of states, arbitration and jurisdictional bodies.

7. Proclamation of independence of the “Republic of Crimea” has been a direct outcome of using force and threat of force against Ukraine on the side of the Russian Federation. Taking into account the nuclear status of Russia, this proclamation has especially dangerous character in relation to both territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine as well as international peace and security as a whole.  

Military occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in two weeks before holding the “plebiscite” has become the manifestation of using force and threat of force against Ukraine.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine asserts that on the basis of the customary law, the members of the international community have a commitment not to recognize Crimea as a subject of international law, including not to recognize any situation, treaty or agreement, which can be created or reached towards this territory.

8. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine emphasizes that a breach of that commitment, notably international recognition of the "Republic of Crimea", which proclamation has no constitutional and internationally legal basis, will mean that subjects of such recognition, for their part, commit internationally illegal act, violating the fundamental norms of international law and generally recognized principles of co-existance of states.

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