Recently, the Norwegian government reminded us of the anniversary of the new phase of European development.
Five years have passed since Russia illegally annexed Crimea and Sevastopol on 18 March 2014. This act was a serious violation of international law and a challenge to the established international order. Norway therefore reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory, which it urges Russia to reverse. Norway considers it essential that relations between states are guided by international law,’ said State Secretary Audun Halvorsen.
Russia committed several other violations of international law prior to the annexation. Under the false pretext of restoring law and order in Crimea, Russian forces entered Ukrainian territory and took control of important institutions and key societal functions. In the course of a few weeks, a part of Ukraine was forcibly placed under Russian administration.
The illegal referendum on 16 March 2014 was used to legitimise Russia’s use of force. In the absence of any form of international recognition, the referendum was presented as justification for the illegal incorporation of Crimea and Sevastopol into the Russian Federation two days later.
‘We are concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Crimea and Sevastopol. Norway urges Russia to fulfil its human rights obligations and to grant organisations such as the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe access to the peninsula without delay,’ said Mr Halvorsen.
The featured photo shows Russian tanks and soldiers storming a Ukrainian air force base in Belbek near the Crimean city of Sevastopol on March 22, 2014. (Viktor Drachev / AFP/Getty Images).