The "so-called referendum" in Crimea did not conform with either the Ukrainian constitution or the standards laid down by international law, said the Chancellor in her government statement in the German Bundestag. To render international monitoring possible in eastern Ukraine, the German government is working for the deployment of a strong OSCE mission.
The Chancellor stressed that the comments of the OSCE and the European Council on actions in Crimea have been unambiguous. "Russia is largely isolated within all international organisations." The international community will not recognise the outcome of the "so-called referendum" in Crimea. It was simply a unilateral redrawing of borders.
It was "scarcely surprising" that Russia’s veto blocked the adoption of a pertinent resolution in the United Nations Security Council. "The fact that thirteen Security Council members voted for the resolution, with China abstaining, speaks volumes, however," said Angela Merkel.
According to the Chancellor, Russia’s illegal recognition of the independence of Crimea and the treaty under which Crimea is to become part of the Russian Federation must be followed by consequences. These steps call "call for a unified and resolute response on the part of Europe and its partners".
Angela Merkel explained that the European Council meeting in Brussels will now authorise "stage-two" sanctions. The list of individuals affected by travel restrictions and asset freezes will be extended.
Consequences for relations with Russia
The Chancellor did not discount the possibility that, should the crisis worsen, there could be consequences for political relations between the EU and Russia. "Until the political environment for a format as important as the G8 once again prevails, the G8 has effectively ceased to exist; both the G8 summit and the format per se."
The German government will also decide whether the German-Russian government consultations planned for the end of April will take place – and if so, in what form.
Association Agreement is a sign of support
The political chapters of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine will be signed at the European Council meeting in Brussels. "The political chapters will generate important impetus, especially in the direction of developing the rule-of-law." With this, the EU is also signalling its solidarity with and support for Ukraine.
The Chancellor closed with the reminder that, against the background of events in Ukraine, it becomes all the clearer "just how valuable European unification is".