The United States says Russia's invasion of its neighbors is not only violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another country but also international norms adopted by the modern world.
U.S. Representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said this at the United Nations Security Council high-level Arria-formula meeting on Crimea on March 12.
She noted that seven years after Russia’s invasion of Crimea, a large number of participants in the meeting “is a powerful demonstration" that the international community still supports the bedrock principle in the UN Charter.
No country can change the borders of another one by force, Thomas-Greenfield said.
"As President Biden said last month, when Russia invaded its neighbors, it did not just violate another country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, it violated international law and the very norms by which modern countries engage with one another," the American envoy asserted.
Not an internal conflict
The Representative explained that the issue of Russian occupation is not an "internal Ukrainian conflict" because such actions have implications beyond Ukraine.
"Russia’s occupation and militarization of the Peninsula have implications far beyond Ukraine’s borders. Russia has moved nuclear-capable aircraft, missiles, weapons, and ammunition into the peninsula and has increased its military presence in the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, and the Kerch Strait. This is a threat to the world’s common security."
She underlined that its invasion of Crimea was followed by a series of killings and the disappearances of at least a dozen opponents of the occupation.
"These actions remain unresolved, and they need to be investigated."
Human cost of the occupation
She urged Russia to release the more than 100 Ukrainian political prisoners it is holding.
"These political prisoners are only one part of the human cost of Russia’s occupation."
She reminded that the occupation authorities had sustained a brutal campaign of repression against Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians, and members of other minority ethnic and religious groups - by raiding mosques and homes, driving independent media off the peninsula, and handing down lengthy prison sentences to those with the bravery to speak out.
"If Russia wants the international community to believe its narrative and is truly concerned about the welfare of the people living in Crimea and Donbas, it should allow humanitarian workers and OSCE and UN envoys immediate access to these areas."
The diplomat asked all of those gathered in the meeting to join the U.S. in calling on Russia to grant access for OSCE and UN monitors to occupied Crimea.
Ms Linda Thomas-Greenfield concluded by indicating that the United States welcomed Ukraine’s new initiative, the Crimean Platform, as the next step and venue for international partners committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.