Seoul says it doesn’t recognize Russia’s Crimea annexation

March 19, 2014
FILE - In this Tuesday, March 18, 2014 file photo people cast shadows waving flags as they gather at a square to watch a televised address by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Federation Council, in Sevastopol, Crimea. Now, waking in a land officially annexed by Russia, the Crimean Tatars are worried about what is to come. They worry about how Russian neighbors will behave. Nonetheless, most of them have decided to stay. People from other ethnic groups are staying for several reasons. First among them is economic. Many fear leaving their homes behind, or being robbed as they flee. And some families simply have nowhere to go. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov, File)

FILE – In this Tuesday, March 18, 2014 file photo people cast shadows waving flags as they gather at a square to watch a televised address by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Federation Council, in Sevastopol, Crimea. Now, waking in a land officially annexed by Russia, the Crimean Tatars are worried about what is to come. They worry about how Russian neighbors will behave. Nonetheless, most of them have decided to stay. People from other ethnic groups are staying for several reasons. First among them is economic. Many fear leaving their homes behind, or being robbed as they flee. And some families simply have nowhere to go. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov, File)

(Yonhap) — South Korea does not recognize Russia’s move to annex Crimea, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, joining some Western countries’ denouncement of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s takeover of the previous Ukrainian territory.

On Tuesday, Putin signed a treaty of accession with new leaders of Crimea, making the southern region of Ukraine a territory of Russia. The takeover took place as political instability continued in Crimea after the collapse late last month of Ukraine’s previous Viktor Yanukovych government.

Major Western countries, including the United States, denounced Putin’s action to be nationalistic and threatened tougher sanctions against Russia, with some media reports heralding a new cold war era.

Joining such critical voices, South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs voiced concerns over Russia’s takeover of Crimea.

“The sovereignty, territorial right and independence of Ukraine must necessarily be respected,” the ministry said in statement. “Our government cannot recognize the (recent) referendum on Crimean people and Russia’s (subsequent) annexation of Crimea.”

The ministry, however, said Seoul has yet to decide whether to join the sanctions that the United States and other European countries have imposed on Russia.

“We will have to keep close tabs on future developments before deciding to take additional measures,” a ministry official said.

Russia announced that more than 90 percent of Crimean residents approved Russia’s takeover of the region in a referendum last week, but allegations of a possible fraud have been raised.

 

 

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