Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 15.05.2018
Putin is set to personally violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine on May 15. That’s when the Russian dictator is set to open a bridge that spans the Kerch Strait between Krasnodar Region in the Russian Federation and Crimea in Ukraine. Putin will be breaking international law, and he should be sanctioned like all the other Russian war criminals responsible for the invasion and partial occupation of Ukraine.
Invaders from Hitler’s Germany started a Kerch bridge in 1943, while still at war. Invaders from Putin’s Russia started a Kerch bridge in 2015, while still at war.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 20 February 2014. By the end of the first year of Putin’s War, Russian armed forces had occupied Crimea and parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions in Ukraine. Russia illegitimately claimed to have ‘annexed’ Ukraine’s Crimea to the Russian Federation. Putin has started and is still waging the worst international war in Europe since the Second World War. Because of Putin’s War, Russia has become a pariah. On 27 March 2014, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 68/262, “Territorial integrity of Ukraine.” The core principle upheld by this resolution is that no territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal. Members of the United Nations pledge to uphold international law and not to recognize a change in status of Ukraine’s territory of Crimea or Ukraine’s city of Sevastopol.
Violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine has consequences. The European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland and other countries have imposed sanctions on Russian individuals and entities whose actions in the invasion of Ukraine constitute a grave threat to international peace and security.
On May 14, the European Union imposed the latest round of sanctions. Five persons who were organizers of the illegal so-called ‘election’ for President of Russia that was held in Ukraine’s Crimea were made subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze. Inna Guzeyeva, Natalya Bezruchenko, Aleksandr Petuknov, Miroslav Pogorelov, Anastasiya Kapranova actively supported and implemented policies that undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
Organizing an illegal election merits sanctions. The world community looks forward to the US and Canada and other countries joining the EU, in solidarity, in sanctioning Putin’s minions in Russian-occupied Crimea. But it is Putin himself who deserves to be sanctioned most of all.
Putin started the war against Ukraine, unprovoked. Putin made a land grab in Europe, the first change of borders by force there since the Second World War. Putin is invading the largest country that lies wholly within Europe: Ukraine. Putin is the greatest threat to international peace and security. No Russian individual or entity deserves to be sanctioned more than Putin does.
Putin’s assets should be frozen and he should be banned from travel. This is the least that should be done, because in a healthy international system Russian aggression would be defeated and Europeans who live in Crimea and Donbas would be liberated from Russian tyranny and oppression.
Sanction Putin now, for implementing policies that undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.