Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on Crimea
March 18, 2016.
Two years on from the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the European Union remains firmly committed to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The European Union reiterates that it does not recognise and continues to condemn this violation of international law. It 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 EU calls again on UN Member States to consider similar non-recognition measures in line with the UNGA Resolution 68/262.
The EU reaffirms its deep concern at the military build-up and the deterioration of the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula, 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. The filing of a request to ban the activities of the Mejlis, a self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, as an extremist organisation, is a particularly worrying development. The EU calls for full compliance with international human rights standards and other obligations under international law. All pending cases of human rights violations such as enforced disappearances, torture and killings should be thoroughly investigated.
Olegh Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko, detained and sentenced in breach of international law, should be immediately released and guaranteed a safe return to Ukraine. Full, free and unrestricted access for international human rights actors to the whole territory of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol, continues to be paramount.