Putin outlaws Ukrainians' ownership of land in Crimea / Photo from UNIAN

The European Union says that Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent order banning non-Russian citizens from owning land in Russia-occupied Crimea violates international humanitarian law.

"Russia has recently added, by a presidential decree, most of Crimea and Sevastopol to the list of border territories of the Russian Federation in which non-Russian citizens are prevented from owning land," Peter Stano, the lead spokesperson of European Union External Action for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said in a statement on April 1. "The decree is […] a violation of international humanitarian law, as it is another step towards the imposition of Russian citizenship in the peninsula. This could also lead to the arbitrary deprivation of property."

Read alsoUkraine to sue Russia in int'l courts after Ukrainians in Crimea banned from owning land plots

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The European Union says it does not recognize the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia, which is a clear violation of international law. "Therefore, the European Union does not recognise this decree, which is yet another attempt to forcibly integrate the illegally-annexed peninsula into Russia. Crimea is part of Ukraine," it said.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Putin on March 20, 2020, expanded the list of territories where foreigners are not allowed to own land. The list includes most of the areas in Russia-occupied Crimea.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Ukraine would appeal to international courts over Russia's ban on Ukrainians' ownership of land on the peninsula, which was seized by Russia from Ukraine in March 2014.