Key to Europe

On March 16, 2014, upon the prior decision of the National Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the referendum was held on the future status of the territory of Ukraine and possible succession of Crimean Autonomous Republic to the Russian Federation.

We consider this referendum as illegal and illegitimate and contradicting first of all to the Constitution of Ukraine. Though the right of self-determination exists (UN Charter, Article 1), the situation is more complex in the peninsula as Crimea is voting to be not only independent but for joining the Russian Federation. Secondly, such referenda should be agreed upon by the country’s government whereas in this case, Crimea organised it by itself, which relates to secession rather than self determination. In addition, the referendum happens in a context of illegal occupation by unidentified military forces (likely to be Russian) of the territory of Ukraine, which is in violation with the Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine’s Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapon (Budapest Memorandum of 1994) where the Russian Federation agreed to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine, thus its results could not be recognized. We deeply regret the organization of this referendum itself. In our belief it would bring only additional tensions and escalation of the regional situation, thus harming directly the regional security.

A woman casts her ballot at a polling station during the Crimean referendum, in Sevastopol, Ukraine, Sunday, March 16, 2014. Residents of Ukraine's Crimea region are voting in a contentious referendum on whether to split off and seek annexation by Russia. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)

In our deep conviction, the Ukrainian people should decide their future as a united and independent nation. In this regard, only diplomatic and peaceful talks with the respect of all international law norms (including territorial integrity of Ukraine) may allow Ukraine, Russian Federation and the European Union to avoid the further escalation of the situation. However, the results of Crimea Referendum could not be considered as legitimate and they only complicated future efforts to resolve crisis. In all our previous statements we stated clearly for numerous times, that there is no grounding allowing Russian Federation to intervene in Ukrainian internal affairs through its respective actions in Crimean Peninsula.

In addition to this, we strongly call the EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs to evaluate as soon as possible the existing situation over Crimea and decide on certain and urgent measures/sanctions against the Russian Federation, in line with the declaration of the EU Heads of State and Government of the EU of 6 March, unless the Russian side would not take real actions and moves for the de-escalation of the existing situation. The EU should speak and act in one voice: separate negotiations and solutions are not an option anymore for overcoming the existing deadlock.

Simultaneously, we encourage all our AEGEE members in Ukraine, and particularly in AEGEE-Sevastopol, to continue their further activities in a working routine and in the European spirit of AEGEE/European Students’ Forum.

Written by Armenak Minasyants, the Policy Officer of AEGEE-Europe for European Neighbourhood Policy.

AEGEE Eastern Partnership Project Team


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  1. So, you regret a referendum because you consider it “illegal”…

    but you didn’t consider illegal the violent coup d’etat which there was in Kiev some weeks ago against a democratically elected president… on the contrary, you supported that violent coup d’etat which was lead by nacionalist and extreme right groups.

  2. I used to defend the legitimation Krimea’s anexion to Russia. For me it was like browsing a historical error of the Ex-soviet period; Now I see that they have used some maquiavelian ways to get it and I feel like dissapointed about the development of the situation. However, I can’t see either the point of being such agressive against Krimea’s reality. Yiuvare representing a whole NGO and you are following some politics that are not trying to be moderated and objetive. Moreover, I, as an historian, can’t be glad if I see how you mistakethe meaning o the self-determination right that involves not only secession but also unification… Please you have to know very well the concepts you are using, otherwise, you are easily getting wrong.

  3. If someone continues to post these kind of things on behalf of AEGEE-Europe, I’d have no other choice but to quit AEGEE. After being a member for 2 years I don’t want to be a part of these ridiculous posts. We didn’t vote for making statements like that and I’m not sure that it reflects the majority’s opinion. What a shame.

  4. Did you ask AEGEE-Sevastopol about their opinion before making this post? Or you just use the political mainstream? I don’t think that sanctions against the Russian Federation will solve the problem. It will only aggravate the situation in this region and in all Europe!

  5. During these last 4 years of my life as AEGEE-member, I thought you were a young and multicultural organization, critical with the idea according to which, Western countries (specially USA and EU friends) are always good and other countries are always bad…,

    but now I’m disappointed, because I can see that you only follow the mass media “mainstream”:

    – Kosovo independence, coup d’etat in Kiev, NATO bombing and invasion of Libia , NATO bombing of Beograd, financing of rebel Syrian, Afghanistan and Irak military intervention, Israeli bombing in Palestina and Libano, USA interferences in South American countries, USA economic embargo to Cuba::
    Good and democratic interventions. Demonstrators who protest against this: terrorists, hooligans, extremists.

    – Russian troops in Crimea and Crimea referendum:
    terrible and dictatorial. Demonstrators who protest against this: “freedom fighters”

  6. I am very sorry to say it, but the EU has been hardly capable to play a significant role in a critical international situation since the last five and a half decades. The German Question, the Cypriot Question, the break-up of Yugoslavia, the Kosovo “independence”, the Georgian crisis…these are just a few issuses that, although taking place in Europe, were handled mainly by the USA. The current crisis seems to be no exception. Is it right for the EU to promise things that have historically proved to go beyond its actual scope? The western carelessness about ukrainian history and society, as well as its reckless participation in the escalation of the crisis is not to be overlooked. In addition, european dependence on Russia’s resources (whether we like it or not) is a factor that should be seriously considered. Stability and growth in Eastern Europe should be based on co-operation with Russia, not on antagonism. We’ve seen where that leads.
    If only international law had not been violated repeatedly in the past (e.g. the independence of Kosovo did also contradict international law, but very few in Europe seem to care), there might have been a chance to be respected by all sides. But, unfortunately, each country uses it to accomondate its own interests, so all credibility is lost

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