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The United Nations Security Council met today on 15 March 2014 to discuss and Flag of the United Nationsvote on a resolution on Ukraine. The resolution was supported by 13 of the 15 Security Council members with one abstention, but Russia used its veto to prevent it passing.

This resolution was designed to prevent further escalation of the crisis in Ukraine.

It invited Council Members to uphold the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of a UN Member State, and reaffirm core UN principles. It was about sending a clear signal that holding a referendum in Crimea would take us further away from a diplomatic solution.

Following the vote, UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to United Nations, Mark Lyall Grant, delivered an explanation of the UK’s vote in favour of the resolution to the UN Security Council. Mark Lyall Grant said:

“The resounding message from today’s vote is that Russia stands isolated in this Council, and in the international community.

“Russia alone backs this referendum. Russia alone is prepared to violate international law, disregard the UN Charter, and tear up its bilateral treaties. This message will be heard well beyond the walls of this chamber.

Mark Lyall Grant said “The position of the international community is clear. If this referendum is held tomorrow, it will have no validity, no credibility and no recognition.

Mark Lyall Grant added “We trust that Russia will take notice of its isolation”. We ask Russia to hear the collective voice of the international community today to rethink its actions, and to take the decision to work with Ukraine, and with the rest of the world, to find a peaceful solution.

The ball is now firmly in Russia’s court. If Russia fails to respond to Ukraine’s outstretched hand, and instead continues with its military adventurism or seeks to take advantage of this illegal referendum, it will lead to further escalation of tension in the region and further consequences for Russia.

On Wednesday we heard the G-7 leader Statement calling on the Russian Federation to cease all efforts to change the status of Crimea.

The G7 leaders, urged Russia to join in working together through diplomatic processes to resolve the current crisis and support progress for a sovereign independent, inclusive and united Ukraine. they also remind the Russian Federation  the G7 leaders decision to suspend participation in any activities related to preparation of a G8 Sochi meeting until it changes course and the environment comes back to where the G8 is able to have a meaningful discussion.

  • Russian annexation of Crimea would be a clear violation of the United Nations Charter;
  • Russia’s commitments under the Helsinki Final Act; its obligations to Ukraine under its 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership;
  • the Russia-Ukraine 1997 basing agreement; and its commitments in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994.

In addition to its impact on the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea could have grave implications for the legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states. Should the Russian Federation take such a step?

On Thursday, we heard a clear message from the Prime Minister of Ukraine that Ukraine is willing to engage in dialogue with Russia to address its stated concerns.