Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders condemns the Russian recognition of Crimea as an independent state. He also condemns the signing by President Putin of a draft decree to annex Crimea. He deems these decisions regrettable. He deplores the fact that these decisions were taken despite repeated appeals from the European Union not to escalate the crisis in Ukraine and to maintain the dialogue among all parties involved.
Belgium recognizes the right of peoples to self-determination, but the referendum of 16 March was not the result of preliminary negotiations; it was held under pressure, hastily, and without the consent of the Government of Ukraine. This is why the international community has unanimously declared the referendum organized in Crimea unconstitutional and illegal.
The Minister therefore deems that this constitutes a clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.
Didier Reynders appeals to reason and is convinced that our ultimate objective must be a political and negotiated solution among all the parties concerned, while maintaining full respect to Ukrainian sovereignty and international law.