Tag Archives: Crimea

EU Crimea sanctions «tradition»

European Council today decided to renew the sanctions introduced in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation until 23 June 2021.

The restrictive measures currently in place include prohibitions targeting the imports of products originating in Crimea or Sevastopol into the EU, and infrastructural or financial investments and tourism services in Crimea or Sevastopol. Furthermore, the exports of certain goods and technologies to Crimean companies or for use in Crimea in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors or for the prospection, exploration and production of oil, gas and mineral resources are also subject to EU restrictions.

As stated in the declaration by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on behalf of the EU on 16 March 2020, the EU still does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and continues to condemn this violation of international law.

Sanctions against Crimea, despite the diligent attempts of their authors and ideological inspirers, did not become an instrument of manipulation, did not drive us into a corner, but exactly the opposite made us strong and self-sufficient. Their next extension is only a tribute to the “tradition“, because in fact they can do nothing else. False accusations, vile incitements and reckless sanctions are the whole “arsenal” of the EU’s foreign policy instruments,” the Head of the Republic of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov wrote on his page in Russian social media.

The escalation of “anti-Russian hysteria” around the Crimean Repubic has become for the West a familiar form of hiding their own problems and a way to shift the focus of public attention from important topics, he continues. The head of the Republic emphasized that large infrastructure facilities on the peninsula were successfully implemented under the conditions of sanctions.

Of course, their absence would create more favorable conditions for Crimea for economic development, in particular, to attract investment. But this is not direct damage, but rather a lost opportunity, which we compensate for in other available ways,” he added. – “In short, my perception of Western sanctions is best demonstrated by the proverb “a dog barks, while caravan goes.”

There is a lot of work ahead! … The Russian Crimea is destined to successful development and prosperity” the Crimean leader concluded.

Putin arrives to Crimea

President Vladimir Putin arrived to Crimea for a working visit, which will last two days, Russian media reports.

Russian President has a meeting with representatives of the public of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.

The head of state also awarded to the builders of the Crimean bridge with distinctions and medals.

There are also scheduled working meetings with the head of the Republic of Crimea Sergey Aksenov and interim governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhaev.

March 18, Crimea marks the sixth anniversary of reunification with Russia, which is regarded as “annexation” by the European Union, supporting the territorial integrity of Ukraine after Maidan Revolution, ousting President Yankovich.

In March 2014, a referendum was held in the Republic of Crimea, following which the peninsula became a territorial part of Russia, and Sevastopol became a city of federal significance.

Catherine the Great invested a year GDP of Russia to conquer the peninsula responding to complaints of her subjects against Crimea Khanate kidnapping people and slave trafficing to Ottoman Empire. The successful military campagne ended with Crimea joining Russian Empire under name of Tavria in 1783, and closure of all slave markets on the peninsula. Traditionally this historic day of issuing the Manifest of Catherine II is celebrated on April 19.

Russian drills in Black sea

An active phase of tactical drills of the Black Sea Fleet aviation with fighters, bombers and helicopters has begun on March 18 in Crimea. In the course of the drills, pilots trained to withdraw forces during a potential attack, conducted a search for submarines, launched unguided missiles and dropped bombs, the fleet’s press service informed. (Image: illustration).

The drills consist of two stages. “During the first stage of the drills, plane and helicopter crews practised withdrawing forces in case of a hypothetical enemy attack and redeploying aviation to backup airfields,” the message reads.

During the second stage, pilots of Su-24M and Su-30SM launched unguided missiles and dropped bombs on land and sea targets. Crews of anti-submarine aircraft and helicopters conducted a search for a hypothetical enemy submarine. Pilots of military transport aviation practised transporting and landing cargo.

In total, the drills include about 20 aviation units of the Black Fleet.

Crimeans denounce EU «hypocrisy»

The speaker of the Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, defined the position of the European Union, which continues to refuse to recognize the Russian status of Crimea as “hypocrisy“.

Earlier, the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrel, made a statement on the Crimea, in which he recalled that the EU does not recognize the Russian peninsula. In addition, he said, “the increasing militarization of the peninsula continues to negatively affect the security situation in the Black Sea region.”

“Any references to international law on their behalf sound hypocritical. The right to self-determination is enshrined in the UN charter, as well as in the UN Declaration on the Principles of International Law of 1970,” Konstantinov said to reporters.
According to him, Crimeans pay no more attention any longer to such statements issued by Western politicians.

Meanwhile the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on the six anniversary of Crimea Republic and Sevastopol “re-unification” with Russian Federation:

“Today we celebrate the 6th Anniversary of the 2014 referendum in Crimea: 96,77% votes were cast in favour of reunification with Russia. This historic choice of the people of Crimea must be respected; celebrated as a triumph of true democratic processes #CrimeaIsRussia” read the issued Tweet.

Crimea anniversary EU declaration

Today the Declaration was issued by the High Representative Josep Borrell-Fontelles, on behalf of the European Union, on the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (pictured) and the city of Sevastopol.
Six years on from the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the European Union remains steadfast in its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The European Union reiterates that it does not recognise and continues to condemn this violation of international law. It remains a direct challenge to international security, with grave implications for the international legal order that protects the territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty of all States.

“The European Union remains committed to fully implementing its non-recognition policy, including through restrictive measures. The European Union calls again on UN Member States to consider similar non-recognition measures in line with the UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262. The European Union does not and will not recognise the holding of elections by the Russian Federation in the Crimean peninsula.

“The increasing militarisation of the peninsula continues to negatively impact the security situation in the Black Sea region. In violation of international humanitarian law, Russian citizenship and conscription in the armed forces of the Russian Federation have been imposed on Crimean residents. The unjustified use of force by Russia against Ukraine on 25 November 2018 is a reminder of the negative effects of the illegal annexation on regional stability. The return of the illegally-captured Ukrainian servicemen and vessels, as requested by the Order of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea and called by the EU, was long overdue when it eventually took place in the second half of 2019.

“The European Union condemns the construction of the Kerch Bridge without Ukraine’s consent and the recent opening of a railway section. These are yet further steps towards a forced integration of the illegally-annexed peninsula with Russia, and a further violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The EU expects Russia to ensure unhindered and free passage of all ships through the Kerch Strait to and from the Azov Sea, in accordance with international law. The illegal restrictions to such passage are still ongoing and have negative economic consequences for Ukraine’s ports in the Azov Sea and the whole region.

“Since the illegal annexation by the Russian Federation, the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula has significantly deteriorated. Residents of the peninsula face systematic restrictions of fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression, religion or belief and association and the right to peaceful assembly. In accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 74/168 of 18 December 2019, it is crucial that the regional and international human rights monitoring mechanisms as well as the non-governmental human rights organisations have unimpeded access to Crimea and Sevastopol.

“The rights of the Crimean Tatars have been gravely violated through the shutting down of Crimean Tatar media outlets, and the banning of the activities of the Mejlis, their self-governing body, and the persecution of its leaders and members of their community. The EU expects Russia to reverse these decisions and to end the pressure on the Crimean Tatar community. Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians and all ethnic and religious communities in the peninsula must be ensured the possibility to maintain and develop their culture, education, identity and cultural heritage traditions, which are currently threatened by the illegal annexation.

“Furthermore, Russian Federation should stop changing the demographic structure of the population by transferring its own civilian population to the peninsula. Russia must also take measures to improve the environmental situation, which has considerably worsened since the illegal annexation.

“The EU reiterates its call for the immediate release of Emir-Usein Kuku and his five co-defendants, Oleh Prykhodko and all others who have been detained in the Crimean peninsula and sentenced in breach of international law. The EU calls for full compliance with international human rights standards in the peninsula. Journalists, human rights defenders and defence lawyers should be able to work independently and without undue interference and intimidation. All pending cases of human rights violations and abuses, such as enforced disappearances, torture and killings, violence, politically motivated prosecutions, discrimination and harassment should be thoroughly investigated. Full, free and unrestricted access for international human rights actors to the whole territory of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol, continues to be paramount. The EU recalls UNGA Resolution 74/168 of 19 December 2019, and calls for its full implementation, including the Russian Federation’s obligations under applicable international humanitarian law.”

Illustration: Crimea, Livadia Palace

EU extends sanctions against Russia

The Council today decided that current sanctions in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine should be extended for a further six months until 15 September 2020.

https://twitter.com/eucouncilpress/status/1238490097240154113?s=21

These restrictive measures provide not only for a freezing of funds, but also a prohibition against making funds or other economic resources available to the listed persons. They currently apply to 175 persons and 44 entities, following the removal of two deceased persons from the list.

Other EU measures in place in response to the crisis in Ukraine include:

economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy, currently in place until 31 July 2020;
restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2020.
The legal acts were published in the Official Journal on 13 March 2020.

Image: Crimea bridge at night, source: social media

Putin optimistic about Kerch bridge

The Kerch Bridge connecting Crimea with Taman Peninsula of Russia has been built applying the latest technologies and can operate “for centuries, if maintained properly”, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the TV program ‘Moscow. Kremlin. Putin’ on the Rossiya-1 TV Channel.

On December 23, Putin took part in the ceremony of opening the railway service on the Crimean Bridge across the Kerch Strait that connects Crimea with mainland Russia.
Commenting on event he said that he experienced “a feeling of joy and satisfaction for the work done with a good result,” when crossing the Bridge.
“Judging by what experts opinion, it will serve for many decades and maybe centuries to come. It is only necessary to provide timely maintenance and repairs and it may operate for centuries”, Putin said, underlining that the construction has been conducted based on the most advanced technologies.

In the past there had been three attempts to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait but “all of them had been unsuccessful and all the structures had been swept away,” Putin recalled.
That is why, there were speculations that Russia would fail again in creating such a transport pass, he continued.

Such technologies did not exist before but we developed them. After that, all worked well and qualitatively and actually everything was done using domestic technologies,” Putin explained.

The Crimean or Kerch Bridge is the largest structure in Russia and Europe that connects the Kerch Peninsula in Crimea with the Krasnodar Region in the Taman Peninsula.

The transport link consists of two parallel motor and railway sections. The bridge’s motorway section was put into operation in May 2018 and traffic across it started to pass in the fall of the same year.
On December 23, 2019, Putin took part in the ceremony to open railway between Kerch and Taman. Cargo train traffic is set to start on the Crimean Bridge in July 2020.

Kerch railway bridge causes EU criticism

“The Russian Federation has finalised the construction of the railway section of the Kerch Bridge and is opening railway traffic to the Crimean Peninsula without Ukraine’s consent. This constitutes another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russia” European External Action Service spokesperson statement reads.

“The railway link is yet another step towards a forced integration of the illegally-annexed peninsula with Russia and Crimea´s isolation from Ukraine of which it remains a part.

“Furthermore, the bridge limits the passage of vessels through the Kerch Strait to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea. The European Union expects Russia to ensure unhindered and free passage through the Kerch strait, in accordance with international law.

“The European Union reiterates its full support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. The European Union does not and will not recognise the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia.”

It will take around 14 mln to travel over the Crimean Bridge and 13 mln tonnes of goods will be carried, President Vladimir Putin said at the opening ceremony for the railway traffic over the bridge, Russian new agency TASS reports.

“It is planned to carry 14 mln passengers and about 13 mln tonnes of goods in the next year [over the Crimean Bridge],” the head of state said.
The 19-kilometer Crimean Bridge, the longest one in Russia, links the Taman Peninsula (Russia’s Krasnodar Region) and the Kerch Peninsula (Crimea). It will provide uninterrupted transport link between Crimea and other regions of Russia.

EU extends Russian sanctions

European Union leaders intend to extend sanctions against Russia over Crimea and Moscow’s involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the European diplomats say. (Image above: Crimea bridge at night)

According to EU diplomats the European Council will confirm its united support for Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity, and continue policy of the duration of the economic sanctions against Russian Federation.

Recently French President Macron has stepped forward in favour of rethinking the strategy vis-à-vis Russia, and some influential EU countries, namely Italy and Germany, have powerful lobbies pushing for effective relations with Moscow.

13.12.2019 AMENDMENT

We also had the opportunity, in the case of Russia and Ukraine, to listen to a debriefing presented after the meeting of the Normandy format, which was held in Paris by Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel. This was an opportunity to exchange views on the situation in the region and it was an opportunity, as you are certainly aware, to decide to extend the sanctions for another six months, taking into account the fact that we consider that the implementation of the Minsk agreement remains an extremely essential point for us. This is a point for which we will continue to be very attentive and very active in the future” said Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, while commenting on sanctions extension for next six months.

Sentsov to receive Sakharov prize in Strasbourg

Ukrainian film director and human rights activist Oleg (43) will visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 26 November to receive in persona the 2018 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

When Parliament’s Human rights prize was awarded last year, Sentsov was in prison in Russia serving 20 years, convicted of terrorism for setting fires to the doors of the offices of the ruling United Russia party in Crimea, and plotting to blow up a monument to Lenin. Sentsov became world famous due to 145 days hunger strike, which evoked a lot of sympathies, and reactions among public, supporting an international campaign for his release.

After serving five years he became one of thirty-five Ukrainian citizens released by Russia in exchange for Ukraine freeing an equal number of Russians.

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