Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu made a statement on the 6th anniversary of the annexation of Crimea pledging Estonia's "unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity" of Ukraine.
His full statement is below:
"Today 6 years ago Russia illegally annexed Crimea, having staged a sham referendum only two days before. The international community still remembers the green men who carried Russian weapons and who later, in April 2014 were identified as Russian soldiers even by Vladimir Putin himself.
"These acts constitute a clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations, a direct challenge to international security with grave implications for the international order that protects the territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty of all States.
"These actions also violate the commitments that Russia took in the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances for Ukraine – namely to respect Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence.
"Since the outset of its occupation of the peninsula, Russia has drastically curtailed the freedoms of assembly, expression, association, access to information, and religion. Alarmingly the human rights situation in Crimea has been constantly deteriorating. This has a crushing impact especially on those who refuse to recognise the illegal occupation and seek to preserve their native language, religious and cultural identity. Despite the order of the International Court of Justice from 19 April 2017 the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People remains banned in Crimea.
"In violation of international humanitarian law, Russia:
- Continues its policy of changing the demographic composition of occupied Crimea;
- Increases its military presence on the Crimean peninsula;
- Forcefully conscripts young men in occupied Crimea to serve in the Russian armed forces.
"The militarisation of Crimea has increased instability in the wider Black Sea region as well as in Azov Sea. The construction of the Kerch Bridge and use of force by Russia have severely restricted free navigation in the area.
"We, the international community, must bear witness to Russia's human rights violations in occupied Crimea. We call on Russian authorities to grant immediate and unimpeded access to the peninsula to independent international organisations and mechanisms that seek to monitor the human rights situation on the ground there.
"We recall our unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders and call on Russia to act likewise."
Editor: Helen Wright