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Baltics call Crimea referendum illegitimate

  • 2014-03-17
  • From wire reports, TALLINN

Estonia considers the so-called referendum carried out on Sunday, March 16 in Crimea, Ukraine on whether to join the Russian Federation, to be illegal and does not recognize its legitimacy, said the Estonian Foreign Ministry, reports LETA.

Conducting a referendum in such a manner is contrary to the Ukrainian constitution and is being carried out in a situation where acts of aggression have been carried out against Ukraine and Russian troops are present in the region, the ministry stated.

"Russia must immediately put an end to the steps initiated to join Crimea with Russia," Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said. "Such an action is illegal and in violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as international law, including the UN Charter and OSCE Helsinki Final Act," he added.

According to Paet, the international community condemns Russia's aggression in Crimea and considers the referendum held in the presence of and under pressure exerted by foreign troops to be void. "We also consider it essential that the decision of the Russian Federation's Parliament authorizing the use of its military in Ukraine be annulled," he added.

"We consider helping Ukraine in every way possible to be of utmost importance, including the prompt signing of the EU’s Association Agreement with Ukraine,” Paet said.

Latvia as well says it does not recognize the legitimacy of the referendum. The referendum has been organized in a clear violation of the national, namely, Ukrainian Constitution and took place in the illegitimate presence of foreign - Russian - troops, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

When preparing for the referendum, comprehensive and many-sided information was not disseminated; quite on the contrary - the Ukrainian mass media were blocked in the territory of the republic, the ministry said in a statement.

Latvia calls on the Russian Federation to refrain from further steps toward illegitimate change in the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The annexation of Crimea would be a blatant violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as of international law, including the international commitments of Russia. That could have far-reaching negative international consequences, said the Foreign Ministry.

The Foreign Ministry calls on the Russian Federation to take measures for de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine by withdrawing its troops to the areas of their permanent stationing in accordance with agreements between Russia and Ukraine.

The issues of concern for Russia should be addressed in a peaceful manner, by engaging in a dialogue with the legitimate government of Ukraine as well as applying all the available international mechanisms towards a peaceful settlement of the crisis. Any solution should respect the sovereignty of Ukraine and its territorial integrity, as well as Russia's bilateral and multilateral international commitments.