Together with the international community, Latvia continues to condemn Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and continues to advocate the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.
On 16 March 2014, as part of its scenario of the illegal annexation, Russia held an illegitimate referendum on joining Crimea to the Russian Federation. Only two days later, on 18 March, an agreement was signed with representatives of the self-declared republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on joining Crimea to the Russian Federation. With this act, Russia has openly ignored its international commitments and blatantly violated the international law.
On 13 March of this year, Latvia along with other EU member states supported the prolongation of individual restrictive measures. They have been set against persons and companies that have, with their actions, undermined or threatened the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. These EU restrictive measures include asset freeze and travel bans.
The illegal annexation has had a particularly negative impact on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Crimea. The restrictions purposefully targeted against the Crimean Tatars and ethnic Crimean Ukrainians are especially disturbing as, for example, politically motivated prosecutions, violence and intimidation, unlawful arrests, torture and mistreatment of prisoners, restriction of freedoms of expression, assembly and religion. In this context, Latvia underlines the importance of the UN General Assembly resolution on human rights in Crimea and invites the international community to continue work on the implementation of the resolution, which, among other things, also demands that the international human rights monitoring mechanisms be granted access to Crimea. Latvia welcomes the measures carried out by international organisations such as the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe in handling the situation.