The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has summoned Serbian Ambassador Aca Jovanovic in connection with the placement of the name and symbols of the so-called (Russian) Republic of Crimea at Russia’s stand at the International Tourism Fair in Belgrade.
The Ukrainian foreign policy department expressed its profound concern to the ambassador, the ministry noted in a press release.
“The Serbian ambassador’s attention was drawn to the inadmissibility of the Russian Federation’s attempts to legitimize in the international arena the occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. It was also demanded of him that such incidents should not be repeated in future,” the ministry added.
The Serbian ambassador admitted that the incident was unfortunate, and reaffirmed his country’s support for the territorial integrity and state sovereignty of Ukraine.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek recently said that the Czech Republic will never recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
In February 2014, armed people in uniforms without insignias appeared in Crimea and captured the Supreme Council of Crimea, the Simferopol Airport, the Kerch ferry crossing and other strategic objects, and prevented the Ukrainian army from taking action. Initially, the Russian government refused to acknowledge that these armed people were Russian soldiers, but President Vladimir Putin later admitted it.
On 16 March 2014, a referendum on the status of Crimea was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, in which the inhabitants supposedly voted for the peninsula to become part of Russia. The outcome of the so-called referendum is not recognized by Ukraine, the EU or the US. On 18 March, Putin announced the “annexation” of Crimea to Russia.
International organizations have declared the annexation illegal and condemned Russia’s actions. Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia in connection with the annexation. Russia claims to have “restored historical justice”. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, declared 20 February 2014 the start of Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.