Crimean referendum unlawful

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Crisis in Ukraine Crimean referendum unlawful

The planned referendum in Crimea contravenes the Ukrainian constitution and international law, in the view of the German government. "For this reason it will not be recognised by the international community," declared government spokesperson Steffen Seibert in Berlin.

3 min reading time

Pro-Russian demonstrators meet pro-Ukrainian demonstrators in Sevastopol, on Ukraine's Crimean peninsula

Demonstrators on the Crimean peninsula, Ukraine

Photo: picture alliance / dpa

The referendum in Crimea violates both international law and Ukrainian law, declared Steffen Seibert. "Any referendum that is to be held and recognised must comply with the Ukrainian constitution, and observers must be allowed in line with customary international practice," said Seibert.

On Sunday the Chancellor emphatically put the German point of view that the planned referendum in Crimea is illegal in a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

G7 states will not recognize referendum

In the meantime the heads of state and government of the G7 states (Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom and the USA) urged the Russian Federation to cease all attempts to alter the status of Crimea.

In a statement they have called on Russia to  immediately halt actions supporting a referendum over the status of Crimea. The annexation of Crimea by Russia would be a clear violation of the United Nations Charter and the Helsinki Final Act.

Situation remains worrying

The situation in Ukraine and in particular in Crimea remains worrying, said Seibert. Incidents continue to be reported which further destabilise the already tense situation, and which are obviously intended to do just that. "Time and time again we must note that Russian conduct and Russian actions contravene international agreements which Russia has pledged to uphold," added Steffen Seibert.

Ukraine needs stability and support. The Chancellor and Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will continue to work for a political and diplomatic process stressed the government spokesperson.

Urgent need to set up a contact group

The proposal of the Chancellor to set up a contact group is still on the table, reported Steffen Seibert. The Russian side has not yet shown the necessary will to enter into a process of this sort. "We urge them to change this attitude in the very immediate future. It is extremely urgent that an attempt be launched to talk and to reach an agreement," declared the government spokesperson.

Telephone call with Turkish Prime Minister

On Sunday Angela Merkel also spoke on the telephone to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about the most recent developments in Ukraine. In a joint statement the two heads of government stressed that the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political unity of Ukraine must be protected at all costs. They described the referendum planned for 16 March as “both extremely questionable and unlawful”.

Government spokesperson Steffen Seibert also pointed out that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor had agreed that in view of the gravity of the situation the United Nations Security Council should be called in as swiftly as possible. The same applies to OSCE Ministerial Council and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Telephone call with Xi Jinping

In a telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Chancellor explained the efforts to achieve a political solution to the conflict. The Chinese President also called for a solution through dialogue. He stressed that the way out of the crisis must be based on the international legal order.

On Thursday 13 March at 09:00 the Chancellor will give a government statement in front of the German Bundestag on last week’s extraordinary meeting of EU heads of state and government in Brussels. The meeting was called in response to the situation in Ukraine.