WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement on the sixth anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea:
“As we mark the sixth anniversary of Russia’s illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea, we are unwavering in our condemnation and outright rejection of Russia’s ongoing violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. Today, as it was six years ago, Crimea remains Ukrainian territory. Period. On this somber day, I stand in solidarity with the Crimean people, who continue to face serious human rights abuses at the hand of their occupiers, including torture, arbitrary arrests, and the erosion of basic freedoms of expression and association.
“Congress has made clear that the United States should never recognize Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea in several pieces of legislation. I welcome the State Department’s statement last month reaffirming it would not do so, and support the Treasury Department’s recent imposition of additional sanctions against enablers of Russia’s illegal occupation.
“I urge other countries around the world to adopt a policy of non-recognition of Crimea as Russian territory. When world leaders do not speak out against Putin’s use of violence to alter national borders, it only emboldens future illegal aggression. On this anniversary, we must redouble our efforts to support the territorial integrity of Ukraine and democracy, human rights, and rule of law in Crimea.”