Britain at OSCE reminds Russia of Budapest Memorandum
By its illegal annexation of Crimea, Russia violated both international law and a number of its own international commitments, including in the Budapest Memorandum.
This was said by Permanent Representative of the UK to the OSCE Neil Bush during a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on March 4.
“In Crimea, Russia violated the first principle of international law – that countries may not acquire territory or change borders by force. Russia’s actions flagrantly violated its own international commitments including in: Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the Budapest memorandum. Their actions undermined and continue to undermine the security of us all. The passage of time will never make them acceptable,” he said.
On the seventh anniversary of the illegal annexation of Crimea, the British representative recalled that on February 20, 2014, “Russia’s military operation to illegally seize 10,000 square miles of Ukrainian territory began.”
“In blatant violation of its OSCE principles and commitments, Russia deployed military troops to the Crimean peninsula, which the Kremlin had decided to take by force. Russia then tried to give its actions a veneer of legitimacy with a sham referendum. This so-called referendum was conducted in a heavily militarized environment; was clearly illegal under the Ukrainian Constitution; and the result remains unrecognized by the international community,” the British ambassador said.
As a reminder, the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances refers to three identical political agreements signed at the OSCE conference in Budapest, Hungary on 5 December 1994 to provide security assurances by its signatories relating to the accession of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The memorandum was originally signed by three nuclear powers: the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. China and France gave somewhat weaker individual assurances in separate documents.
In 2014, in violation of this agreement and other international legal acts regarding relations with Ukraine, Russia carried out an open armed aggression against Ukraine by occupying Crimea and unleashing an armed conflict in Donbas.