G7 Warns Russia Not to Annex Crimea from Ukraine

The Group of Seven (G7) industrial nations, which includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and America, told Russia to stop all actions to annex Crimea and against Ukraine. If Russia declines, the G7 will not recognize the Crimean referendum and will take further actions the country.

Any such referendum would have no legal effect. Given the lack of adequate preparation and the intimidating presence of Russian troops, it would also be a deeply flawed process which would have no moral force. For all these reasons, we would not recognize the outcome.

On March 16, Crimeans will vote to either remain an autonomous republic of Ukraine or join the Russian Federation. Parliament already asked to join Russia, and Russia’s parliament introduced legislation to make it easier to annex countries that want to join. On Tuesday, Crimea’s parliament voted for independence.

After Ukraine’s parliament deposed Russia-backed president Viktor Yanukovych, Crimea, which identifies more with Russia than Ukraine, kicked out its Kiev-appointed officials and allowed pro-Russians to take control. However, the peninsula is still technically a part of Ukraine. Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said the referendum is illegal, and President Obama said the US will not recognize the votes. If Russia annexes Crimea it would violate several international laws:

Russian annexation of Crimea would be a clear violation of the United Nations Charter; Russia’s commitments under the Helsinki Final Act; its obligations to Ukraine under its 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership; the Russia-Ukraine 1997 basing agreement; and its commitments in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994. In addition to its impact on the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea could have grave implications for the legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states. Should the Russian Federation take such a step, we will take further action, individually and collectively.

The G7 told Russia to hold diplomatic talks with Ukraine, which has been one of the many talking points repeated since Yanukovych was thrown out. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia does not recognize the new government and will not hold talks until a new leader emerges.

The group also reminded Russian President Vladimir Putin the countries will pull out of the G8 Summit in Sochi in June. Canada already pulled out of the summit, while the UK and France stopped preparation meetings. President Obama told Putin on both phone calls the US will not participate unless he stops.


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