United Nations General Assembly Declares Crimean Annexation Illegal

Kyiv, March 27, 2014. This time, unable to cast a veto, the Russian Federation (RF) silently observed how members of the United Nations Organization passed a resolution on the Ukrainian-Russian military conflict. Intended to stop Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine, to reaffirm Ukraine’s territorial integrity and to rebuke the legitimacy of the Crimean referendum, the resolution was supported by 100 members, while 11 voted against and 58 abstained. The document was first introduced at the Session of the Security Council of the UN on March 15, 2014; however, it was rejected by Russia’s veto.

Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine introduced the resolution, which was aimed at mitigating the military confrontation and halt Kremlin’s aggression. Today, one hundred members of the United Nations voted in favor of it, thereby denouncing Russia’s aggressive foreign policy and condemning the fake referendum which took place in Crimea on March 16, 2014.

One of the key points of the resolution reads that the UN “underscores that the referendum held in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on 16 March 2014, having no validity, cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or of the city of Sevastopol”.

Russia’s invasion of Crimea was supported by members of the Kremlin-headed Collective Security Treaty Organization – Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia. Putin’s vision of applying military force to ensure peace and stability was also supported by Moscow’s counterparts, including Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

Although the resolution does not imply any direct action, it plays an essential role in the history of the UN General Assembly votes. Having dismissed the Crimean annexation by the Russian Federation, the resolution proves the annexation of Crimea to be illegal and empowers Ukraine to further pursue justice using international legal mechanisms to reclaim its territorial integrity within existing borders, and to fight the further advance of occupational forces.

“This is critical for the U.S.-Europe strategy to isolate Putin and condemn him internationally for Russia’s violation of the U.N. Charter in invading Crimea,” said R. Nicholas Burns, a former American diplomat in the Bush administration, as reported by The New York Times.

The invasion of Ukrainian Crimea by the Russian military on March 1, 2014 was followed by a plebiscite where the residents of the peninsula had to decide whether to become a part of a third state – the Russian Federation, or to break away from Ukraine. The so-called referendum did not even offer a status quo option. At gunpoint, the illegal referendum resulted in overwhelming voter turnout, which in some instances exceeded 120 percent of the population. Having compromised the territorial integrity of Ukraine and annexed a part of the country, Russia violated numerous international treaties and conventions. Its authority to do so was questioned today at the United Nations, and an overwhelming number of voices spoke clearly to condemn Russia’s actions.