In a written statement issued on July 25th, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clearly and unequivocally rejected any possibility that the United States will accept Russia’s attempted annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
On February 27th, 2014, Russian forces, wearing masks and no military insignia, infiltrated Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, took over the Supreme Council of Crimea and proceeded to capture strategic sites across the peninsula. Ultimately, this action led to the installation of a pro-Russian government in Crimea, and in March, an illegitimate, fabricated “referendum” there that attempted to legitimize Russia’s purported annexation of Ukrainian territory.
“Russia, through its 2014 invasion of Ukraine and its attempted annexation of Crimea, sought to undermine a bedrock international principle shared by democratic states: that no country can change the borders of another by force,” said Secretary Pompeo.
Nearly 80 years ago, the United States issued the Welles Declaration, which refused to recognize the then-Soviet Union’s invasion of the Baltic countries--Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. For the next five decades, the declaration remained a cornerstone of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union.
“The people of the United States are opposed to predatory activities no matter whether they are carried on by the use of force or by the threat of force,” states the Welles Doctrine.“They are likewise opposed to any form of intervention on the part of one state, however powerful, in the domestic concerns of any other sovereign state, however weak.”
That principle has not changed, said Secretary Pompeo. “As we did in the Welles Declaration in 1940, the United States reaffirms as policy its refusal to recognize the Kremlin’s claims of sovereignty over territory seized by force in contravention of international law. In concert with allies, partners, and the international community, the United States rejects Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea and pledges to maintain this policy until Ukraine’s territorial integrity is restored.”
“The United States calls on Russia to respect the principles to which it has long claimed to adhere and to end its occupation of Crimea,” he said. “Through its actions, Russia has acted in a manner unworthy of a great nation and has chosen to isolate itself from the international community.”