At the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, the UN’s response had not been strong enough to discourage Russia from further aggression.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said this at the United Nations Security Council Arria-formula high-level meeting "Crimea: 7 years of violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity" held on March 12.
"Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine has caused a major crisis in international politics and undermined the authority of international organizations. It is high time that we increase the effectiveness of our joint efforts to achieve the de-occupation of Crimea”, he stressed.
Human Rights Violations
The Minister drew attention to other negative trends in the occupied Crimea, including changes in the demographic structure, large-scale human rights violations, political persecution and harassment of the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar communities.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine pointed out the brutal treatment and looting of UNESCO World Heritage sites and cultural sites on the temporarily occupied peninsula.
"The world cannot turn a blind eye to the deteriorating situation on the peninsula and the temporarily occupied territories in eastern Ukraine and continue its relations with Russia 'as usual.' It is the worst thing that can happen today," Kuleba stressed.
In this regard, he considers it extremely important to "maintain a firm common position on the occupation, developed within the UN, the EU and other regional and international organizations."
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine noted that there were no reasons to reconsider or weaken this position at present.
Militarization of the Peninsula
Participants also discussed Russia's ongoing large-scale militarization of Crimea and the wider region of the Black and Azov Seas, as well as further human rights violations, deteriorating economic and environmental situation on the Crimean peninsula.
"Seven years later, the Russian military presence on the peninsula has more than doubled", Dmytro Kuleba informed.
According to the Minister, Russia's subversive policy is aimed both at legitimizing the attempt to annex the peninsula and consolidate the status quo, as well as "projecting its military power from Crimea to the entire Azov-Black Sea region and the Mediterranean Sea."
Kuleba stressed the need for a long-term vision and decisive action to overcome the negative consequences of the occupation of Crimea and ensure the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity.
He noted that the number of event participants has significantly grown since last year, while their geography expanded, saying these are clear signs of growing global attention to the problem of Russia's occupation of Crimea.
"Last year, the event was co-sponsored by 7 countries, while this year their number has grown to 23. This indicates growing international support for Ukraine’s efforts to de-occupy Crimea, as well as successful work of the Ukrainian diplomacy, including Ukraine's Permanent mission to the UN," Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also invited all UN member states to join the Crimean Platform initiative, an international mechanism to consolidate international efforts on the de-occupation of Crimea.