U.S. Mission to OSCE calls on Russia to stop illegal conscription of Ukrainians in Crimea

01:45, 30 November 2018
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"We note with great concern recent reports that Russia has illegally conscripted more than 12,000 Ukrainians in Crimea into Russia's military since 2014. This forced conscription runs counter to international humanitarian law and must end immediately," Chargé d'Affaires Harry Kamian of the United States said at an OSCE Permanent Council meeting in Vienna, Austria, on November 29.

"We are also concerned by reports that occupation authorities recently blocked access to articles on the website of the Crimea Human Rights Group, claiming it 'undermined the constitutional order,'" he said.

He also mentioned a recent incident near the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea.

Read alsoPutin wants to "annex" another part of Ukraine – Poroshenko

"We condemn Russia's November 25 ramming, firing upon, and seizure of Ukrainian vessels near the Kerch Strait. Russia's actions represent a dangerous escalation of aggressive behavior that includes the purported annexation of Crimea, abuses against Ukrainian citizens there, and stoking a conflict that has taken the lives of more than ten thousand people in eastern Ukraine. Russia has shown no signs of reversing this campaign of ongoing aggression. Impeding the transit of Ukrainian vessels through the Kerch Strait is a violation of international law, and the international community will never accept these actions," he said.

He also called on Russia to respect its international obligations.

"We call on Russia to respect its international obligations and immediately cease obstructing or harassing the transit of Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait, to immediately release the seized Ukrainian crew and vessels, and to de-escalate the tensions Moscow has created. Russian escalation of this kind will further undermine Russia's standing in the world and increase tensions with Ukraine," he said.

According to him, the United States fully supports Ukraine's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters. "We do not, nor will we ever, recognize Russia's purported annexation of Crimea. We join our European and other partners in affirming that our Minsk-related sanctions against Russia will remain in place until Russia fully implements its Minsk commitments. The separate, Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine," he said.

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