Crimean Platform: Less Concern, More Awareness

Since 2014, we have often heard the word “concern” from representatives of other states and international organizations regarding the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. However, Ukraine and Ukrainians need real action, not just concern. And the Crimean Platform organized this year is one of the possible directions for the implementation of such real actions.  

On the eve of the Independence Day of Ukraine, on August 23, a declaration of the participants of the International Crimean Platform was signed in Kiev. Over the years, this is an outstanding event both for our country and for Europe as a whole.

Significant work was carried out by the Ukrainian state bodies: to gather 47 representatives of different states and international organizations, to agree with them the text of the declaration is a process of many months.

I’ll start with the advantages of signing this declaration.

First, the Ukrainian state bodies have done a lot of work: to gather 47 representatives of different states and international organizations, to agree on the text of the declaration with them is a process of many months. Those who work with contracts and approvals of their editions and revisions know how difficult it is.

Secondly, declarations are often overloaded with general phrases, however, the declaration of 08/23/2021 has clearly defined goals, the most important of which are worth highlighting:

  • introduction of further political, diplomatic and restrictive measures against the Russian Federation;
  • protection of the legal regime of the seas based on respect for international maritime law (blocking the Kerch Strait and shipping in the Black and Azov Seas);
  • the possibility of supporting economic, infrastructural and environmental projects that would contribute to the further development of the regions of Ukraine bordering the temporarily occupied Crimean peninsula;
  • restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine as the ultimate goal.

Thirdly, and this is very important, the issue of de-occupation of Crimea has returned to the International Information Space. International law, like other public jurisprudence, is closely related to the coverage of the problem and its presence on the front pages of publications. If the problem is not discussed, the chances of a quick solution are reduced and the toolbox is limited.

Representatives of various states, the EU, the Council of Europe and NATO are involved in the process of de-occupation of Crimea, the office of the Crimean Platform has been established

In addition to the fact that representatives of different states, the European Union, the Council of Europe and NATO are involved in the process of de-occupation of Crimea, the Office of the Crimean Platform has been created, which must systematically and persistently work with representatives of different countries and international organizations so that the issue of Crimea is constantly on the agenda.   

What immediate possible consequences can be expected from the signing of the above-mentioned declaration?

First of all, new sanctions against the Russian Federation. Further, the majority of international treaties in any spheres of activity in the Russian Federation include the risk that Crimea is recognized as occupied. Russia cannot develop the Crimean peninsula economically and culturally, since foreign companies do not officially work there and foreign tourists do not come en masse. And this is also an important factor of influence.

And one more thing – the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine can use the results of the Crimean Platform in international courts, additionally forming the opinion of the courts about Russia’s actions and the consequences of the occupation of Crimea. And this is an additional reason for increasing the pressure of the Russian Federation in the courts.

However, there are no ideal agreements and resolutions; agreements and compromises always contain risks and unresolved issues. Therefore, it is worth delineating them too.

First, we do not need to be captivated by the illusion that someone will fight more for the de-occupation of Crimea than the Ukrainians themselves. The declaration signed by the participants of the Crimean Platform is a proclamation of principles. Therefore, there is no direct legal responsibility for its violation. Therefore, if we assume that if any of the countries participating in the summit in the future begins to recognize the occupation of Crimea by Russia as acceptable, then for it there will be only political consequences and possible personal legal actions from Ukraine.    

Secondly, each activity requires costs and funding. So far, neither in the declaration, nor orally, we have heard that the participants of the Crimean platform will create a joint fund to finance the goals of the activity.

Are all its participants ready to finance the costs of implementing the goals of the Crimean Platform is an open question

Thirdly, the question of internal influence on the Russian Federation remains unresolved and unknown to the general public. The fact that Russia does not comply with treaties and systematically violates international law is a well-known fact. There is also no illusion that Crimea will be voluntarily de-occupied by the current Russian government. Therefore, it is necessary to act not only by external resolutions, but also by financing the development of the political movement in Russia itself for the voluntary de-occupation of Crimea. And this process is not fast and costly.

Whether all its participants are ready to finance the costs of realizing the goals of the Crimean Platform is an open question. As you know, the parties to any contracts always try to reduce their expenditure side. 

Now we cannot know for sure in advance the results of the Crimean Platform activity. But we know for sure that Crimea is Ukraine. Both under the Constitution and under international law. We will continue to fight for this.    

Pavel Bogomazov, lawyer

(c)UNIAN 2021

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