Statement by Foreign Affairs Minister on fifth anniversary of illegal annexation of Crimea


March 16, 2019 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“Today marks the fifth anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea. We continue to condemn this violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the strongest terms.

“For five years, the world has witnessed a severe suppression of human rights in Crimea—committed by Russian authorities—including arbitrary arrests, torture, detentions, disappearances and the suppression of freedom of expression and association. Canada is deeply troubled by the persecution of Crimean Tatars and other minorities. We denounce the banning of the Mejlis, the self-governing body of Crimean Tatars, and call on Russia to reverse this illegal and immoral decision.

“We continue to call for the release of political prisoners held by Russia, including Oleg Sentsov, a writer and filmmaker serving a politically driven sentence of 20 years in a maximum security penal colony for his criticism of Russia’s occupation.

“Canada is committed to supporting the people of Ukraine. Yesterday, Canada and its allies announced new sanctions against 129 individuals and entities, many for their direct involvement in the illegal annexation of Crimea. Together with the international community, we will continue to maintain pressure, including through economic sanctions, until Russia respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and international law.”

Quick facts

  • In February and March 2014, Russian forces occupied the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine. Following the unconstitutional “referendum” on March 16, 2014, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a treaty purporting to incorporate Crimea into the Russian Federation on March 18, 2014.

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