11:37 Mar. 18, 2016
EU's foreign policy chief warns of worsening human rights situation in Ukraine's Black Sea region
The EU's foreign policy chief has said the European Union remains firmly committed to supporting Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, two years after Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.
Federica Mogherini expressed concern of Moscow's military buildup and worsening human rights record in the Black Sea region, in a statement published on March 18.
In it, she warns Crimea's annexation "remains a direct challenge to international security, with grave implications for the international legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states."
"The European Union remains committed to fully implementing its non-recognition policy, including through restrictive measures", the top E.U. official added.
The E.U. calls again on U.N. Member States to consider similar non-recognition measures in line with the UNGA Resolution 68/262 (on March 27, 2014, by a recorded vote of 100 in favour to 11 against, with 58 abstentions, the U.N. Assembly adopted a resolution titled "Territorial integrity of Ukraine", calling on States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any change in the status of Crimea or the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol, and to refrain from actions or dealings that might be interpreted as such).
Mogherini says that the E.U. is also deeply concerned at the deterioration of human rights in Crimea, including the denial of freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of religion and belief, and the persecution of persons belonging to minorities, in particular the Crimean Tatars.
In February 2014, armed Russian units dubbed ‘little green men' stormed the regional parliament building in Crimea. Soon after, unmarked forces began appearing near Ukrainian military bases in the peninsula.
On March 16, 2014 Russian authorities held a so-called referendum in Crimea which violated international law. That led to the U.S. and E.U. imposing a number of economic sanctions targeting key sectors of the Russian economy.
Met today w/Crimean activists shining light on terrible human rights abuses in Crimea under Russian occupation. pic.twitter.com/fWsVi8WwOY— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) March 17, 2016
We still recall names of dissidents from Soviet era. Sadly, these names—Sentsov, Kolchenko, Savchenko—help define Russian govt today— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) March 17, 2016
Reminded @UN members today that in Crimea, Tatars & people who dare criticize Russia's occupation face threats, prosecution, abduction— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) March 17, 2016
Russia's attempted annexation of Crimea not 1-time violation of Ukr sovereignty—it is ongoing occupation & must end pic.twitter.com/chYRb2WZna— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) March 17, 2016