Economist: In face of economic sanctions against Russia, it is necessary to speed up the process for creating Eurasian Economic Union

Economist: The West's sanctions against Russia will affect the Armenian economy

Rostelecom launches online payment service

Public Services Regulatory Commission of Armenia imposes a 15mln AMD fine on Electric Networks of Armenia

Oppositionist: Interests and viewpoints of Stepanakert do not necessarily coincide with those of Yerevan

Oppositionist: Interests and viewpoints of Stepanakert do not necessarily coincide with those of Yerevan

Ashot Manuicharyan: Armenian President's function is to answer "yes, sir!" and to go do it

Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan criticizes the ICRC again

Nature protection minister charges to resolve problems of several tailing dumps on Syunik region

Official stance of VTB Bank OJSC and VTB Bank (Armenia) CJSC on U.S. sanctions

RPA member: Nagorno-Karabakh Prime Minister's statement had no message to negotiators

Ashot Manucharyan: Armenia may face chaos or isolation at any moment

Armenia joins World Day against Trafficking in Persons

Lake Sevan is among top ten attractions in post-Soviet preferred by Russian people

Leyla Yunus is at Prosecutor General's Office, Arif Yunus decides to "give up"

Pre-Parliament: The overarching goal for all Armenians is the formation of a representative government in Armenia

The OSCE is ready to assist in any way possible to stop the cease-fire violations in karabakh conflict zone, Andrzej Kasprzyk says

US Department of State: Media outlets of Armenia published inaccurate articles portraying religious minorities as criminals and spies

Levon Hayrapetyan loses consciousness on Wednesday morning

Public Services Regulatory Commission decides to reduce tariffs of some services of ArmenTel CJSC

Poaching and illegal hunting tours endanger birds in Armenia

The NKR premier: The Madrid Principles are certainly unacceptable to us

Armenian Copper Programme cuts blister copper production by 13.5%

VTB Bank (Armenia) confirms its leadership in lending

EY takes employees of Armenian ancestry back to their roots

Levon Hayraptyan's health much worse

Vahagn Hovnanyan: Oligarchs have full control of Armenian economy

John Heffern believes that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be resolved only through peaceful talks

In Oct 2014 Armenia to join UN peacekeeping operation in Lebanon

ICRC car fired at on Armenian-Azeri border

Artashes Shaboyan: Reduction in consumer demand has a negative effect on supermarkets

Azerbaijan mounts another sabotage attack on Line of Contact, Armenian side has 1 victim and 2 wounded

Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office urges Armenian Defense Ministry to look into military conscription of a kyphotic young man

Armenia suffers no losses during crossfire initiated by Azerbaijan on Armenian-Azeri border

British Ambassador to Armenia calls referendum in Crimea illegitimate

  • by Ashot Safaryan

  • Saturday, March 15, 11:43

UK Ambassador to Armenia Katherine Leach calls the upcoming referendum in Crimea illegitimate. 

The ambassador writes in her blog: "All of us who care about peace in Europe have been shocked by the events in Crimea over the past two weeks. On Sunday a referendum will be held in Crimea in which there is no option for those who wish to keep Crimea's status as part of Ukraine unchanged. People may only vote to join Russia, or to vote for de-facto independence, by bringing back a defunct 1992 constitution.

Russia supports the referendum. But the G7, the EU, other Security Council members and the wider international community are clear that the referendum in Crimea on 16 March will be illegal. As the OSCE Chair and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter said on March 11, any referendum regarding Ukraine's territorial integrity or Crimea's autonomy or sovereignty has to be based on the Ukrainian constitution and has to be in line with international law.

The conduct of the referendum will also be entirely illegitimate. Can a referendum be free and fair when it is organized at two weeks' notice; when there are unidentifiable, armed militias on the streets; when journalists are harassed and their equipment confiscated; when international representatives are blocked from entering Crimea; and when, despite Russian denials, there is clear evidence that Russian troops have left their bases and have been taking over infrastructure across Crimea, in clear violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and numerous bilateral and multilateral agreements?

To be fair, to be sustainable and to ultimately resolve rather than create more problems, a referendum has to be the end point of an open and inclusive process of discussion and negotiation. It can only be contemplated when it is clear that all sides are prepared, peacefully, to accept the result. This is one reason why, in the UK, we are able to have a referendum on the independence of Scotland this year.

After two world wars devastated Europe in the 20th  century, a web of international institutions have been put in place, and reinforced after 1991, to help us avoid repeating the bitter confrontations of the past and to settle disputes peacefully. Organisations like the OSCE and the Council of Europe, of which Russia is an integral member, exist to help states address questions of self-determination and defend the rights of minorities.  We continue to urge Russia to use these institutions, to engage seriously in diplomacy with the Ukrainian government and to find a peaceful resolution. It is not too late. A vital first step will be for President Putin to refrain from recognizing the outcome of the vote on Sunday."

Send to a friend

To (e-mail)

Your name



View comments (0)

Be first to comment on this article

* Indicates required fields