Marking the seventh anniversary of Russia’s invasion and seizure of Crimea, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirmed in a statement this basic truth: Crimea is Ukraine.
“Russia’s occupation and increasing militarization of the Crimean Peninsula have implications far beyond Ukraine’s borders, threatening the world’s common security,” noted Secretary Blinken. Indeed, the occupation comes at significant human cost. Russian occupation authorities have sustained a brutal campaign of repression against Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians, and members of other minority ethnic and religious groups in Crimea. Russian authorities have raided mosques and homes, expelled independent media off the peninsula, and handed down lengthy prison sentences to those who dare to speak out against the occupation. Russia’s repression has left Crimean residents in a constant state of fear, unable to live their lives freely.
Secretary Blinken “call[ed] on Russia to immediately end its occupation of Crimea, release all Ukrainian political prisoners it unjustly holds, and return full control of the peninsula to Ukraine” and “likewise call[ed] on Russia to end its aggression in eastern Ukraine.”
U.S. sanctions on Russia in response to its aggression in eastern Ukraine and seizure of Crimea will remain in place unless and until Russia reverses course, stressed Secretary Blinken. The United States does not, and never will, recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea.
The United States welcomes Ukraine’s new initiative, the Crimean Platform, which aims to improve the efficiency of the international response to the occupation of Crimea, respond to growing security challenges, step up international pressure on Russia, prevent further human rights violations, protect victims of the occupying power, end Russia’s occupation of Crimea, and return full control of the peninsula to Ukraine. The Crimean Platform will be launched officially at an inaugural summit in Kyiv on August 23, 2021.
The United States looks forward to continuing to work with Ukraine and its allies and partners to end Russia’s occupation of the Crimean Peninsula and its aggression in eastern Ukraine.