Brussels (Brussels Morning) Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven major industrialised countries have issued a strong condemnation of what they termed Russia’s ongoing occupation of the Crimean Peninsula, AP reported.
The G7 ministers, comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, – commented on the Russian annexation of seven years ago by issuing a joint statement that Moscow’s actions continue to “undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence”.
Suspended from G8
Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, after Russian troops without insignia took over the Crimean parliament building and captured strategic sites across the peninsula, before cutting off access to Ukrainian media and organising an independence referendum, which the majority of Western governments refuse to recognise as legitimate.
As pro-Russian paramilitaries moved to destabilise the Ukraine’s Donbass region with the covert backing of Moscow and Russian military, Russia was suspended from what was then the Group of Eight because of its actions.
Human rights abuses
“We unequivocally denounce Russia’s temporary occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol”, the seven ministers said on Thursday. “Russia’s attempts to legitimize it are not, and will not, be recognized”.
The G7 ministers also accused Moscow of human rights abuses on the peninsula, and called for international observers to be given access to the area. The joint statement also touched upon the Kremlin’s role in the ongoing conflict in Donbass.
“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”, the G7 ministers said.