Normalization of Relations with Moscow Impossible until Russian Occupation of Crimea Ends, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Says
August 2 – In the most detailed discussion of what might be called Kyiv’s
non-recognition policy of the Russian Anschluss, Ukrainian Foreign Minister
Pavel Klimkin told the Second World Congress of Crimean Tatars that peace with
Russia might be possible but that normalization of relations would be
impossible until Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea ends.
said that “under conditions of the annexation of Crimea, there will not be any normalization
of relations. Peace with Russia – yes; cooperation in definite areas –
possible. The normalization of relations – no.” And he argued that “the Russian
occupation of Crimea is temporary because it is illegal. The entire world knows
and recognizes this.”
he continued, Ukraine “has insisted and in the future will continue to insist
without compromise on the defense of human rights on the Crimean peninsula.”
That is necessary because of the horrific violations of the rights of the
Crimean Tatars and other residents of the Ukrainian peninsula by the Russian
latest example,” Klimkin said, “are the obstacles” which these officials
through up to block Crimean Tatar officials from attending the congress. There
is a clear goal behind Moscow’s actions: “the world must not learn the truth
about the situation in Crimea where murders and kidnappings are a tragic
the Russian occupation and aggression in the Donbas, the Ukrainian foreign minister
continued, “Ukraine has found a way to provide financing for the social and
other needs of the Crimean Tatars” via the European Investment Bank and via
direct Ukrainian funding. And it is working on laws to ensure the rights of
Crimean Tatars after the Russian occupation ends.
president and prime minister sent messages of support and encouragement to the
World Congress of the Crimean Tatars, but Klimkin spoke to it. And his speech
may prove to be the most important because it shows that Kyiv is moving toward
the kind of non-recognition policy that the US and other Western countries
adopted at the time of the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states.
policy, it will be recalled, specified that the US would never recognize the
incorporation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania into the USSR and set the rules
for the behavior of American officials with respect to those three countries,
including a ban on visits by senior officials to them and the maintenance of
ties with pre-1940 diplomatic representatives.
non-recognition policy did not, Soviet and Russian claims notwithstanding, ever
promise that the US would “liberate” the three Baltic countries, and it did not
preclude cooperation with Moscow on other issues. Some criticized it for that,
but by defining the issue in the way that it did, that non-recognition policy
did three important things.
it meant that the US would not sacrifice the status of the Baltic states as a
result of some change in relations between Washington and Moscow, something
that could more easily have happened had the US not articulated a
non-recognition policy of the kind that it did.
it send a signal to Moscow that even if there was progress in other areas, that
did not mean that the US would change its position with regard to the Soviet
occupation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
third, non-recognition policy served as a source of encouragement to the
peoples of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania during Soviet times that they were
occupied peoples and that their occupation would eventually end, as it did in
declaration in Ankara shows that Kyiv is moving toward exactly that policy for
Crimea, even though Western governments have not yet seen fit to go beyond the
kind of public declarations that some future change in East-West relations
could render meaningless.
now has a non-recognition policy for Crimea; it is time for Western governments
to articulate one of their own, as carefully crafted as the one Sumner Welles
put in place for the Baltic countries in 1940 and as the one Klimkin has just