It’s been seven years since Russia launched its military attack on Ukraine, seizing and occupying the Crimean Peninsula and attempting to annex it.
On March 18, the United States joined the six other members of the Group of Seven countries, or G7, in condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. In a joint statement, the Foreign Ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan called what Russia has done in Ukraine “illegitimate and illegal.”
“We unequivocally denounce Russia’s temporary occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol,” they wrote. “Russia’s attempts to legitimize it are not, and will not, be recognized.”
The G7 foreign ministers cited the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and the Paris Charter for “clearly stating the fundamental principles of respect for the territorial integrity of any State and the prohibition of any use of force to change borders. By its use of force against the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” they said, “Russia has clearly violated international law and contravened these principles.”
They also condemned Russia’s violations of human rights on the peninsula, particularly of Crimean Tatars, which has included severe human rights abuses, politically-motivated prosecution, and other forms of harassment. “We call on Russia to respect its international obligations, allow access to international monitors and to immediately release all those who are unjustly detained,” they wrote.
The G7 also expressed its support for Ukraine’s Crimean Platform, an initiative intended to gather likeminded states in condemning Russia’s seizure and occupation of Crimea, denounce its militarization of the peninsula, and the human rights abuses it inflicts on the Crimean population, and develop resolutions to address these issues moving forward.
The foreign ministers voiced their firm opposition as well to Russia’s continued destabilization of Ukraine, particularly in areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. “The full implementation of the Minsk agreements is the way forward for peace,” they said. They commended the efforts of France and Germany in their roles as participants in the Normandy Format to help pursue a diplomatic path to resolve the conflict.
The G7 affirmed that it remains “fully committed to the implementation of sanctions and will continue to stand with Ukraine in support of its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.”
Echoing what U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in February about the 2014 Russian invasion, the G7 ministers declared, “Crimea is Ukraine.”