Seventh anniversary of the annexation of Crimea by Russia

Statement by Heiko Maas, President of the Committee of Ministers
GERMAN PRESIDENCY Strasbourg 26 February 2021
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Felix Zahn/

Felix Zahn/

Seven years ago, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol were illegally annexed by the Russian Federation, and the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine began.

In my capacity as President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, I would like to recall the Committee’s condemnation of the illegal annexation, which constitutes a violation of international law, and to reaffirm its unequivocal and unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. In this respect, I would like to also underline the need to fully implement the Minsk agreements and the Paris summit conclusions in order to end the military conflict in Donbas.

The Committee of Ministers remains concerned that the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula has significantly deteriorated since the illegal annexation by the Russian Federation. Bearing in mind the decision by the European Court of Human Rights of 14 January 2021 regarding Crimea, I call on Russia to fully comply with international humanitarian law and international human rights standards, including by granting unimpeded access to regional and international human rights monitoring mechanisms, as well as non-governmental human rights organisations, to Crimea and Sevastopol.

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