Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders, is monitoring the developments in Ukraine closely and with great concern, in particular the referendum on bringing Crimea under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. The referendum will be held this Sunday, 16 March.
In keeping with the messages delivered during his recent visit to Kiev with his counterparts from the Benelux countries, Minister Reynders is calling the leaders of the region to reason. He urges them to make decisions in compliance with international law. This way they can contribute to a de-escalation of the crisis.
The Minister reiterates his full support for the conclusions of the European Council of 6 March. The Summit strongly condemned the blatant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by the Russian Federation. Didier Reynders recalls that under the terms of the Ukrainian Constitution, the autonomous Republic of Crimea can organise referenda only on local questions and not on an alteration of the territorial configuration of Ukraine. This referendum can therefore have no legal effect.
For Belgium, it is essential that Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity be respected as the basis of a peaceful settlement of the current crisis, with the strictest respect of the principles and obligations enshrined in international law. Belgium stands by the European Union and other international stakeholders to facilitate and promote a constructive dialogue with all the parties in order to reach a peaceful solution.