Let me start by once again reiterating Norway’s strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including the Crimean Peninsula and the adjoining territorial waters.
Tomorrow, March 18, marks the seventh anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, a blatant violation of international law.
Russia’s attempts to portray the annexation as justifiable will not prevail. Numerous votes and debates in General Assembly on: the human rights situation in Crimea, the problem of militarisation of Crimea, and on Ukraine’s occupied territories has consistently shown that the international community rejects Russia’s perception of reality.
Norway condemns the ongoing militarization of the Crimean Peninsula. We are concerned by Russia’s military activities in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, which increase tensions in the region, and obstruct navigational rights and freedoms. We are deeply worried also by the deteriorating human rights situation in Crimea - as documented in the reports by the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
We urge Russia to immediately release all arbitrarily detained and imprisoned persons, in line with a number of UN General Assembly resolutions on the human rights situation in Crimea.
We call on Russia - as the occupying power - to respect its obligations under international law and uphold the freedom of expression, of religion and belief, of peaceful assembly and association, as well as economic, social, and cultural rights. This includes restoration of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars, as ordered by the International Court of Justice.
We urge Russia to provide international humanitarian actors and international monitors full access to the areas of Ukraine currently not under the control of Ukraine, including the Crimean Peninsula.
Norway does not, and will not, recognise Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea. Our non-recognition policy and restrictive measures against Russia will remain in place until Russia fully reverses its illegal annexation.