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Russia to pay huge price of isolation, economic strain for annexing Crimea

Publication Date : 21-03-2014

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made the bold decision to annex Crimea through strong-arm tactics, leveraging his country’s military power. It is an outrageous act that violates international norms, and we do not condone it by any means.

Putin has announced Russia’s policy to integrate the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the special-status city of Sevastopol adjacent to Crimea, which declared independence from Ukraine based on the results of a recent referendum.

Putin stated that Crimea “should be under a strong, sovereign state and that in fact can only be Russia” and signed an annexation treaty together with Crimean leaders.

The treaty will take effect after a procedure that includes ratification by the Russian parliament. The annexation is scheduled to be completed through a transition period through the end of the year, during which Russia’s ruble currency will be introduced.

Crimea has been under Russian military control. Its annexation clearly violates the UN Charter, which stipulates the importance of maintaining territorial integrity.

After the Soviet Union’s dissolution, Britain, Russia and the United States issued a memorandum with Ukraine stipulating that the three would refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine’s territorial integrity or political independence, in exchange for the country’s commitment to eliminate all Soviet-made nuclear weapons.

That agreement, which was made at the end of the Cold War, has been completely disregarded by Russia in its latest move. The blatant act of annexation can be regarded as a challenge to the post-Cold War international order.

It is quite natural that the international community has reacted fiercely against Russia’s annexation of Crimea. US Vice President Joe Biden accused Russia of making nothing more than “a land grab” through its action. The European Union also issued a statement in which it reiterated its stance of not approving the annexation.

Japan’s disappoval

At a meeting of the House of Councillors Budget Committee on Wednesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe clearly stated for the first time that Japan would condemn Russia over the annexation. “We absolutely will not disregard moves that attempt to change the status quo through the threat of force,” he said.

Abe likely also had China in mind, as the country has made repeated moves that include incursions into Japan’s territorial waters by government ships near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.

The focus hereafter will be what kind of severe additional sanctions the international community will impose on Russia.

The United States has already decided to impose additional sanctions. The EU will also discuss implementing stronger sanctions at a summit meeting set to start Thursday.

At the Nuclear Security Summit scheduled for next week in The Hague, leaders from the Group of Seven countries—Japan, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the United States—are expected to discuss the Ukraine issue. It is important for the G-7 countries to join forces in applying pressure on Russia.

The value of Russian stocks and the ruble have fallen since tensions began mounting in Ukraine. With Crimea’s annexation, it has been said Russia will have to make huge fiscal expenditures to improve infrastructure and other areas in the republic.

By moving forward with the annexation, Russia is certain to pay a huge price—isolation from the international community and a worsened economy.

 

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