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Russia: Crimea’s separation from Ukraine justified

/ 01:09 AM April 04, 2014

An armed coup d’etat actually took place in Ukraine. As a result, illegitimate forces trying to govern the country have assumed power. And national-radical elements continue to exert pressure, by means of terror and intimidation, to implement decisions made in Kiev. It is obvious that the interests of the Ukrainian regions, Russian-speaking population and ethnic minorities are being ignored.

Kiev has “forgotten” the accords reached and signed on Feb. 21, 2014, by President V.F. Yanukovich and the opposition in the presence of representatives of France, Germany and Poland. This pushed Crimea’s legitimate authorities to seek separation from Kiev through referendum.

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The right of self-determination is enshrined in Article 1 of the UN Charter, a right repeatedly affirmed by decisions of the UN General Assembly (e.g., the Declaration on Principles of International Law, 1970; Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, 1960).

For the more than 20 years that Crimea was under Ukraine, its people never had the opportunity to implement their right of self-determination within the framework of the state because of the policies of the central government. After unlawful and violent seizure of power in Kiev, the environment for the exercise of this right even worsened and groups controlled by the Kiev authorities persecuted and attempted to depose the lawful authorities in Crimea.

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The present government in Kiev does not represent the entire Ukrainian people, much less the Crimean people. They do not control a significant part of the Crimea where the people want self-government and have assumed power.

Therefore, the people of Crimea have no more responsibility to implement the right of self-determination within the framework of the Ukrainian state, and the Ukrainian state has lost the right to defend its territorial integrity.

The referendum’s failure to comply with the Constitution of Ukraine has no legal bearing on the issue of its legitimacy in accordance with international law.

The practice of exercising the right of self-determination through separation shows that it cannot be enforced, for obvious reasons, in accordance with national laws.

It should be noted as well that the International Court of Justice has declared that “general international law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence.”

—ILYA PERENKOV,

press attaché of the

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Russian Embassy

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TAGS: Crimea, Kiev, President V.F. Yanukovich, Russia, Ukraine, Ukrainian regions
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