Foreign ministers of G7 countries and the EU condemned “Russia’s continued actions to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence” on Thursday.
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US ministers, along with the high representative of the EU, in a joint statement, reaffirmed their “unwavering support for and commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.”
The statement came on the seventh anniversary of Russia’s “illegal and illegitimate” annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, and said: “Russia’s attempts to legitimise it are not, and will not, be recognised.”
“We condemn Russia’s violations of human rights on the peninsula, particularly of Crimean Tatars,” it added.
It also said: “We call on Russia to respect its international obligations, allow access to international monitors, and to immediately release all those who are unjustly detained.
“We welcome in principle Ukraine’s initiative to establish an International Crimean Platform to consolidate the international community’s efforts on Crimea.”
They also “firmly” opposed “Russia’s continued destabilisation of Ukraine, especially Russia’s actions in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, disregarding the commitments it made under the Minsk agreements.”
“The full implementation of the Minsk agreements is the way forward for peace. Russia is a party to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, not a mediator.”
Welcoming the last year’s cease-fire, the statement also said they “deplore recent military escalations by Russian backed armed formations at the line of contact.”
“We call on the Russian Federation to stop fueling the conflict by providing financial and military support to the armed formations it backs in eastern Ukraine, as well as by granting Russian citizenship to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens, and to instead ensure that steps recently taken by Ukraine aimed at helping improve people’s lives on both sides of the line of contact are reciprocated.”
Commending efforts to find a peaceful solution in the region, the ministers also called on all sides to fully implement the Minsk agreements.
“The G7 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 recognised borders. Crimea is Ukraine,” the statement added.
Russian forces entered the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014 with Russian President Vladimir Putin formally dividing the region into two separate federal subjects of the Russian Federation the following month.
Crimea's ethnic Tartars have faced persecution since Russia's 2014 takeover of the peninsula.
Turkey and the US, as well as the UN General Assembly, view the annexation as illegal.