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MFA: Russia has turned Crimea into military outpost, zone of oppression in past nine years.

Nine years have passed since Russia held the fake "referendum on the status of Crimea". This so-called vote at gunpoint contradicted the Constitution and laws of Ukraine.

"March 16 marked nine years since Russia held the fake ‘referendum on the status of Crimea’ and March 18 marks nine years since the day of the attempted illegal annexation, when the so-called ‘agreements on the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation’ were signed,” reads the commentary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes that Russian president Vladimir Putin, who is wanted by international justice for war crimes, is reported to arrive in the temporarily occupied Crimea today.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that for nine years in a row, the Crimean Peninsula has been suffering from the Kremlin's criminal regime, which has turned it into a military outpost, a zone of oppression and lack of freedom, aggression and terror against everything and everyone who found the courage to resist and defend their democratic rights and values.

"That Kremlin-orchestrated ‘show’ [referendum] at gunpoint contradicted the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, grossly violated the norms of international law, and was not recognized by the international community," the comment reads.

Russia repeated this trick last September, organizing a similar propaganda show called "referendum" in the temporarily captured territories of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, and Donetsk regions of Ukraine.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs underscores that sham referenda in both 2014 and 2022 do not have any consequences for the administrative-territorial system and internationally recognized borders of Ukraine. The Armed Forces of Ukraine have already liberated most of the territories where sham referenda were held in 2022. Other temporarily occupied territories will also be freed. It is only a matter of time.

Ukraine praises the clear and constant support from the international community. In particular, the support from the participants in the International Crimea Platform regarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, which is enshrined in the resolutions of the UN General Assembly, decisions of other international and regional organizations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its gratitude for the readiness of Ukraine’s international partners to steadily move towards the complete de-occupation of all temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

Ukraine will continue to make every effort to hold Russia and its leadership to account for the crime of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

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