Kyiv, March 8, 2014. The upcoming referendum in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC) was deemed illegal by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). This was stated after the closed-doors session of the UNSC on Thursday, March 6, 2014. Additionally, the referendum in Crimea was officially recognized as illegal by the governments of the U.S. and the EU.
On Thursday, the UN Security Council held the fourth meeting on Ukraine. “The situation in Ukraine is deteriorating, as the scheduled referendum [in Crimea – Ed.] is illegal,” told reporters the UN representative after the consultations, as reported by Interfax Ukraine. He also stressed that only an all-Ukrainian referendum would be lawful.
In addition, the US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power also described the upcoming referendum in ARC as “illegal.”
Notably, Germany called for further diplomatic mediation of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. If they prove unsuccessful some far-reaching economic measures could be employed, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels. On the subject of the proposed vote in Crimea she said that it was “a referendum based on the foundation that does not even exist.”
“The proposed referendum on Crimea would violate the Ukrainian Constitution and violate international law,” said President of the United States Barack Obama. To de-escalate the crisis, he suggested Russia to let international monitors in. The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry clarified that Crimea, being a part of Ukraine, was in fact Ukraine, therefore the government of Ukraine needed to be involved in any kind of decision on any part of it. This also means that such vote would require the participation of all Ukrainian citizens; otherwise it would violate the Ukrainian constitution and international law.
On March 8, 2014, the British Ambassador Simon Smith noted that the referendum in Crimea was full of legal unsoundness and brought further destabilization of the situation.
Jan Tombinski, Head of the EU delegation to Ukraine, expressed full support to the new Ukrainian government and stated that the country and the new government were facing a multiplied crisis which is why it was vital, among other things, to ensure security and integrity and to establish trustful administration in Ukraine. Commenting on the decision of the Crimean Verkhovna Rada, Mr. Tombinski cited article 73 of the Constitution of Ukraine.
Notably, article 73 of Ukrainian Constitution states: “Alterations to the territory of Ukraine shall be resolved exclusively by the All-Ukrainian referendum.”
Recently, a special United Nations envoy in ARC Robert Serry who came to Ukraine on an observer mission was threatened by unidentified armed men who demanded that he left Crimea.