Minister for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini expressed deep concern over the consequences of the referendum for the secession of Crimea. “Italy, along with its European partners, considers the referendum on the secession of Crimea illegitimate, and supports the resolution discussed yesterday in the United Nations Security Council”, Minister Mogherini stated from Brussels, where she had arrived to participate in meetings preparatory to tomorrow’s EU Foreign Affairs Council
The referendum, Mogherini underscored, “runs counter to both Ukraine legislation as well as international law, and for that reason its outcome will not be recognised. Tomorrow in the Foreign Affairs Council we will decide how to apply the sanctions on Ukraine and Russian citizens already outlined by the European Council on 6 March, if tensions do not show signs of lessening”.
According to Mogherini a diplomatic solution is still possible. “There is still a chance to halt the crisis. All diplomatic channels remain open, including efforts toward an OSCE mission to Ukraine”, she explained – on the condition, however that Moscow takes a step.
“Russia must not annex Crimea. It is our hope that the Russian Federation puts an immediate stop to all military activity on Ukraine soil, abstains from any further provocation and respects the full sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Russia must remain a partner to the EU and avoid international isolation”, the minister asserted.
“The channel by which the crisis could be resolved remains that of dialogue, diplomacy and compliance with international law. Tomorrow, my EU colleagues and I will also be working on measures by which to support and assist the Kiev authorities in ensuring that the rights of minorities and autonomous regions are fully respected”, announced Mogherini who, before the Council, will take part in an EU ministerial meeting with Ukraine foreign minister Andrei Dechtchitsa.
“We will be preparing the terrain for an association agreement between the EU and Ukraine that the EU heads of state and government will sign on Friday”, she concluded.