Britain on Tuesday said it will “never recognize” Russia's annexation of Crimea or any other Ukrainian territory “in the face of (Russian President) Putin's assault.”
Speaking at the Crimea Platform summit via video link, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the military, humanitarian, economic and diplomatic support to Ukraine must continue to Ukraine “until Russia ends this hideous war and withdraws its forces from the entirety of Ukraine.”
The outgoing prime minister said the “land grab in 2014 was the direct precursor of today's war,” referring to the annexation to Crimea.
“And we should have the humility to acknowledge that not everybody realized the sheer enormity of what was happening at the time,” he added.
“All of our countries forever reacted with strength and unity, after Putin escalated his onslaught against Ukraine on the 24th of February this year.”
Johnson added that with the illegal annexation of Crimea, Putin had breached Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and the Russia-Ukraine Treaty of Friendship.
“And ever since the annexation, the people of Crimea have endured a brutal and systematic campaign of human rights abuses,” he said.
The abuses included “the persecution of the Tartars, arbitrary arrests with a tenfold increase in detentions last year and the restriction of land ownership to Russian citizens.”
Johnson said: “Putin deployed more and more Russian forces in the peninsula, turning the territory into an armed camp from which to threaten the rest of Ukraine, and so Crimea, duly became the launch pad for the invasion of the 24th of February.”
He underlined that the Russian president is planning to do the same thing to the rest of Ukraine and “more sham referendums”.
“So, it has never been more important for us all to stand together in defense of the foundational principle of international law, which is that no territory, no country can acquire territory, or change borders, by force of arms.”
In 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, a move widely viewed as illegal by the international community, including Turkiye and the UN General Assembly.