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Crimea must not become a precedent for stealing land from another nation

Publication Date : 27-03-2014

 

Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula must not become a precedent for one nation stealing another nation’s land by force. The international community should reinforce its united front against Moscow.

Leaders of the Group of Seven major industrialised nations—Japan, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada—recently met in The Hague over the upheaval in Ukraine, denouncing Russia’s annexation as a “clear violation of international law”. The leaders decided to suspend their participation in the Group of Eight summit meeting to be held in Sochi until Moscow changes course.

The G-7 leaders also warned they will impose tough economic sanctions on Russia if the nation further escalates its actions, on top of penalties they have already imposed.

The success of the G-7 nations in building a united front and showing their resolve against Russia will undeniably strengthen the pressure they have put on the country.

At the meeting, Japan pledged up to 150 billion yen (US$1.47 billion) in aid to Ukraine, which now faces the risk of default. It is essential for Japan to join hands with the United States and European countries to support Ukraine, to stabilise the situation.

In reaction to the decisions of the G-7, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow is not clinging to the G-8 format. He suggested putting more focus on the UN Security Council and the summit meetings of the Group of 20 nations.

‘Russianisation’ progressing

The reason behind Lavrov maintaining his assertive stance is the overwhelming public support in Russia for the annexation of Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has apparently concluded that his strategy to annex the Crimean Peninsula was successful. It is unlikely that receiving some condemnation from the international community will be an incentive for Putin to give up Crimea. Ukraine has decided to withdraw its troops from Crimea, and the “Russianisation” of the region, such as the circulation of the ruble, has begun.

There is one worrying move from Russia—the nation is now concentrating its troops on the southern and eastern borders of Ukraine.

If Russia begins a military intervention against Ukraine in regions other than Crimea, there is no doubt the United States and other G-7 nations will impose full-scale economic sanctions on Russia. The sanctions will not only hit the Russian economy, but they will also cause enormous repercussions to the global economy.

It is crucial that the international observers of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe enter Ukraine as soon as possible, and begin monitoring the security situation there to prevent tensions with Ukrainian citizens of Russian descent, which would give Russia the pretext for directly intervening in Ukraine.

The Crimea issue has massive implications for Japan, which faces China’s repeated intrusions into Japanese territorial waters in areas near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.

During the G-7 meeting, Abe told other leaders that Japan will not tolerate any attempt to change the status quo by force. He then went on to say that the Ukranian issue is a problem for the entire international community, including Asia, and multiple nations reportedly agreed with his remarks.

It will be important for Japan to assert the legitimacy of its position on the Senkaku issue to the international community, and obtain the understanding of other nations over the issue.

 

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