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Černínský palác - Giving Tuesday
Photo: © M. Trnková, MZV ČR
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Statement of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 8th anniversary of the occupation of Crimea


Ukraine is facing a reckless and unjustifiable armed aggression by the Russian Federation. However, Russia's aggression against Ukraine did not begin a few days ago. Today marks eight years since Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula and the self-governing city of Sevastopol in flagrant violation of the basic principles of international law.

Unfortunately, the international community's condemnation of Russia's actions in 2014 and the subsequent economic sanctions have not deterred President Putin from his imperial ambitions. In violation of the UN Charter, the Minsk agreements and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, this week Russian troops crossed the official borders of Ukraine again and de facto annexed other parts of a sovereign country - one of the founding members of the UN.

The Czech Republic, also in view of its historical experience, does not recognise the annexation and subsequent occupation of Ukrainian territory and, together with the EU and NATO Member States and other international partners, strongly condemns this act.

While Ukraine has been seeking diplomatic and legal ways to resolve the conflict since 2014, including through the establishment of the International Crimea Platform and its willingness to negotiate within the framework of the Minsk Agreements and the Normandy Format, Russia has boycotted international diplomatic efforts, militarised the occupied territories in Crimea and the Donbas, and is now openly attacking a neighbouring country and threatening stability and security in Europe.

In the occupied territories, we have observed systematic violations of basic human rights, persecution, detention, abduction and torture of activists, independent journalists and suppression of civil society. The Czech Republic has repeatedly called for the release of all political prisoners detained or convicted in fabricated and politically motivated trials, such as Crimean Tatar leader and deputy chairman Majlis Nariman Dzhelyal, or RFE/RL journalist Vladyslav Yesypenka, who was sentenced to six years in prison on 16 February this year. These are only two representatives out of hundreds of other names.

The Czech Republic, together with its EU and NATO partners, calls on the Russian Federation to immediately stop its military actions, to end its occupation of Ukrainian territory, to stop human rights violations and to return to the negotiating table