U.S. welcomes Ukraine's initiative on Crimean Platform / Photo from UNIAN

U.S. Representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield has said the United States welcomes Ukraine's new initiative on the Crimean Platform.

"The United States welcomes Ukraine's new initiative, the Crimean Platform, as the next step and venue for international partners committed to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It's time to end Russia's occupation of Crimea and its ongoing aggression in eastern Ukraine. We look forward to continuing our work with Ukraine, our allies, our partners to do just that," she said at a UN Security Council Arria-Formula Meeting on the Situation in Crimea on March 12, 2021.

The envoy stressed seven years after Russia's invasion of Crimea – the international community still supports the bedrock principle in the UN Charter: no country can change the borders of another one by force.

Read alsoUN tells of human rights violations in occupied Crimea"Russia wants us to believe that its invasion of Crimea was justified and provoked. But we will not be fooled. Here's the truth: after protests brought an end to the corrupt Yanukovych regime, Moscow took revenge against Ukraine for its decision to chart a path toward democratic reform," the diplomat said.

She reiterated in February 2014, Russia's "little green men," armed with Russian weaponry, took over the Crimean Peninsula.

"In March, Russian agitators seized buildings and fueled the bloody Donbas conflict that has claimed more than 13,000 lives to date. This is how Russia's campaign to undermine and destabilize Ukraine began," Thomas-Greenfield said.

At the same time, she added that Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine is not, as Russia claims, an "internal Ukrainian conflict."

"Russia funds, arms, trains, leads, and fights alongside its proxy forces and armed groups in eastern Ukraine. Its invasion of Crimea was followed by a series of killings and the disappearances of at least a dozen opponents of the occupation. These actions remain unresolved, and they need to be investigated. And we urge Russia to release the more than 100 Ukrainian political prisoners it is holding," the envoy said.

Russian occupation of Crimea

  • Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea in March 2014 after its troops had occupied the peninsula. An illegal referendum was held amid the aggressive takeover on the issue of the peninsula's accession to Russia. De-facto Crimean authorities claimed that 96.77% of the Crimean population had allegedly supported the move.
  • On March 18, 2014, the so-called agreement on the accession of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to the Russian Federation was signed off in the Kremlin.
  • Western powers never recognized the Crimea annexation attempt and imposed sanctions on Russia over aggression against Ukraine.
  • Ukraine's parliament voted to designate February 20, 2014, as the official date for the start of the temporary occupation of Crimea.