Foreign Ministry Calls Crimea Referendum Illegal; Paet Meets With EU Ministers ({{commentsTotal}})

Estonia considers the referendum in Crimea, Ukraine, on whether it should join the Russian Federation, to be illegal and does not recognise its legitimacy, the Foreign Ministry announced Sunday.

Conducting a referendum in such a manner is contrary to the Ukrainian constitution and is being carried out in a situation where acts of aggression have been carried out against Ukraine and Russian troops are present in the region, the ministry said in a press statement.

"Russia must immediately put an end to the steps initiated to join Crimea with Russia," said Foreign Minister Urmas Paet. "Such action is illegal and in violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as international law, including the UN Charter and OSCE Helsinki Final Act."

The EU foreign ministers and Ukraine's foreign minister will meet in Brussels today in a meeting of the Friends of Ukraine NGO to discuss how to support Ukraine and impose "restrictive measures" against Russia.

According to Paet, the international community condemns Russia's aggression in Crimea and considers the referendum held in the presence of and under pressure exerted by foreign troops to be void.

"We also consider it essential that the decision of the Russian Federation's Parliament authorizing the use of its military in Ukraine be annulled," he said.

"We consider helping Ukraine in every way possible to be of utmost importance, including the prompt signing of the EU’s Association Agreement with Ukraine."