On 12 March 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part in the United Nations Security Council’s informal online discussion organised by Estonia concerning the state of affairs in Crimea seven years after the illegal annexation by the Russian Federation. The Foreign Minister pledged steadfast support from Latvia for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and he pointed out that Latvia will continue to implement the non-recognition policy concerning the illegal annexation of Crimea.
Russia’s actions are in violation of international law and have serious implications for international security and stability, the Latvian Foreign Minister said. For seven years, the international community has been clearly voicing its support for Ukraine and support for compliance with international law.
Edgars Rinkēvičs further noted that the situation in Crimea is deteriorating. Latvia is deeply alarmed by human rights violations and persecution of Crimean Tatars and other ethnic groups. All human rights abuses must be thoroughly investigated and those responsible must be held accountable, he said. At the same time, the Latvian Foreign Minister reiterated a call for Russia to grant all international human rights observers and monitoring mechanisms access to the occupied territories. The Minister voiced concern over the increasing militarization of the Crimean Peninsula, which is posing threat to the security situation in the wider Black Sea region. Russia’s efforts of affecting demographic change of the population of Crimea are especially alarming, Russia’s ‘passportization’ policy and illegal conscription of Crimean residents into the armed forces of the Russian Federation continue in clear violation of international humanitarian law.
The informal high-level Arria-formula meeting of the United Nations Security Council, titled “Crimea: 7 years of violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” was chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Eva-Maria Liimets. Latvia was among more than 20 co-sponsors that joined the meeting. Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and representatives from various non-governmental organisations briefed the participants on the situation in Crimea.
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