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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Disputed national sovereignty of Crimea

(24 March 2014)

National sovereignty of Crimea is currently being disputed by Russia and Ukraine. On 11th March 2014 Crimea implemented a declaration of independence from Ukraine ahead of a planned referendum that took place on 16th March 2014. On 18th March 2014 the Kremlin announced that Crimea is now part of the Russian Federation. 

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has since approved a draft bill with the leaders of Crimea to absorb the 26,100 square kilometre (10,077 square mile) peninsula into Russia following a referendum that overwhelmingly supported seceding from Ukraine. The referendum questions were as follows:

  1. Do you support rejoining Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation?
  2. Do you support restoration of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Crimea and Crimea's status as a part of Ukraine?

Crimean officials state that 97% of voters in the predominantly ethnic-Russian region supported splitting from Ukraine. President Putin, Crimea’s Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, the region’s Speaker Vladimir Konstantinov and the mayor of Sevastopol, Alexei Chaliy, have signed a treaty on making Crimea part of Russia. The treaty must now be approved by the constitutional court and further ratified by parliament.

President Putin told parliament that Crimea had “always been part of Russia”. He continued, “In the hearts and minds of people, Crimea has always been and remains an inseparable part of Russia. The people of Crimea clearly and convincingly expressed their will- they want to be with Russia”. He further praised the “courage, bearing and dignity” of Crimeans, thanking Russians for their “patriotic feeling”.

The Ukrainian foreign ministry stated, “We do not recognise and never will recognise the so-called independence or the so-called agreement on Crimea joining the Russian Federation”. The United States and European Union have declared the referendum to be illegal, arguing that it undermines democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine.

A G7-EU crisis meeting has been scheduled in The Hague beginning 24th March to discuss the recent events. 


“Ukraine crisis: Putin signs Russia-Crimea treaty”, BBC News, 18th March 2014.

“Ukraine: Putin approves draft bill for Russia to annex Crimea”, Ewan MacAskill, Shaun Walker, Dan Roberts, The Guardian, 18th March 2014.

“Crimea profile”, BBC News, 19th March 2014.