The world community must remember the horrific consequences of the annexation of Crimea by Russia and redouble determination to stand up for values and uphold international law. The Head of the British Foreign Office, Boris Johnson, made a corresponding statement in his article dedicated to the fourth anniversary of the occupation of the Crimea, which was published on February 22 by the British Foreign Ministry.
Johnson recalled that in the year 2015 in the Russian documentary "Crimea: The Way Home" Putin himself admitted that the decision to occupy the peninsula was taken at a meeting in the Kremlin on February 22, 2014. Therefore, the fate of the Crimea actually decided three weeks before the sham referendum, with which the Russian invaders tried to give legitimacy to their actions.
Johnson stressed once again that all of Putin's words about the need to protect the residents of the region and fulfill their wishes for occupation were "utterly mendacious".
“Mr Putin formally annexed Crimea into the Russian Federation on 18 March 2014. Four years after that event, we should remind ourselves of the enormity of what happened and redouble our determination to stand up for our values and uphold international law. Russia’s land grab in Crimea amounted to the first forcible annexation of the territory of a European country – and the first forcible redrawing of a European frontier – since 1945.
In the process, Russia broke so many international agreements that listing them all is a challenge. To select a few examples, Mr Putin trampled upon Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the Russia-Ukraine Treaty of Friendship and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum," Johnson stated.
The British politician stressed that Putin's appetites were not limited to Crimea. He continued his actions, fueling the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The British Foreign Minister noted that to this day Russia continues to send troops and tanks to ORDLO, the conflict in the east of Ukraine has already claimed more than 10 thousand lives and forced more than 2.3 million people to leave their homes.
“Flight MH17 became another victim of this tragedy when a Russian missile launched from an area controlled by Russian proxy fighters blew this passing airliner out of the sky, killing 298 innocent people, including 10 Britons," the politician wrote.
Johnson also mentions the reports on repression of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians in the Crimea and harassment of those opposed to Russian annexation. Despite the repeated demands of the UN General Assembly, Russia has refused to allow international human rights organizations to the peninsula.
Therefore, Johnson suggests to engage firmly and purposefully with Russia. This means maintaining sanctions related to Crimea against Moscow as long as the region remains under Kremlin’s control and maintaining further sanctions until the Minsk agreements are implemented. These measures, according to the Head of the British Foreign Ministry, “are intended to demonstrate that no country, however large, can dismember its neighbour and break international law without consequence."
Earlier, Boris Johnson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov argued at a press conference in Moscow because of information on Russian interference in the politics of different countries.
The Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Russia was accused of interfering in political processes in the US, France and other countries, but no one provided evidence. To which Johnson stated that "no one proved the successful intervention."