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Minister of Foreign Affairs

Linas Linkevičius

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Lithuanian Foreign Ministry’s statement on the third anniversary of the occupation of Crimea

Created: 2017.02.21 / Updated: 2017.02.21 16:33

Lithuania strongly supports Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. In support of Ukraine, we will consistently maintain the non-recognition policy of the illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea that began three years ago. We will aim to maintain the EU and international sanctions against the Russian Federation in response to the illegal annexation of the peninsula until Russia withdraws from the illegally occupied territory of Ukraine.

We condemn the ongoing restrictions by Russia, as an occupying power, of fundamental human rights and violations of the freedoms of media, expression, peaceful assembly, religion, and belief, as well as the persecution of the Crimean Tatars. We express concerns over the illegally imprisoned Ukrainian citizens in Crimea, the detention, and interrogation of journalists, who speak up for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, as well as the ban on international human rights organizations monitoring the human rights situation in Crimea.

Growing numbers of Crimean Tatar activists and human rights activists illegally held in detention, acts of intimidation, abduction and torture, the ban of the activity of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, the closure of Ukrainian schools and houses of worship, continued repressions against the Crimean Tatar minority, the entrance ban to Crimea on Crimean Tatar leaders, and other human rights violations are also worrying.

The illegal actions of the Russian Federation not only undermine bilateral and multilateral agreements on ensuring the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, but also pose threats to security and stability in Europe as a whole.  On 27 March 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution 68/262 entitled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine” that affirmed the General Assembly’s commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and condemned Russia’s actions that infringed upon norms of international law. Furthermore, the resolution recognized Crimea as an integral part of Ukraine and highlighted that the General Assembly would not recognize the outcome of the Crimean “referendum” that had been rigged by Russia.    

A resolution on the human rights situation in the autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol adopted by the General Assembly on 19 December 2016 and the International Criminal Court’s preliminary conclusion of 14 November 2016, designating the situation in Crimea as an international armed conflict, clearly recognize that the military aggression, which was unleashed by the Russian Federation against Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea three years ago and currently expanded to eastern Ukraine, constitutes a serious breach of international law, the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.

 

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