The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has expressed solidarity with Ukraine in connection with the seventh anniversary of the illegal occupation of Crimea by Russia.
"The UK will remain at the forefront of international efforts to end Russia’s illegitimate control of the Crimean peninsula," reads the statement by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office published on February 20.
As noted, the UK has reaffirmed its unwavering support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and its support for Ukrainians whose lives have been impacted by Russian aggression, seven years after Russia illegally annexed Crimea and began its ongoing campaign to militarise the peninsula.
"To mark the seventh anniversary of the illegal annexation, the UK is announcing funding for a new project to improve access to vital services for Ukrainians living in Crimea. The UK will contribute £168,000 to this project, which will support the local authorities in the neighbouring Kherson region to help those who are struggling to visit hospitals or apply for Ukrainian passports," reads the statement.
The UK also welcomes the new International Crimean Platform, which will bring together the international community to support the return of Crimea to Ukraine.
"The UK stands with Ukraine against the illegal annexation of Crimea, and we will continue supporting those whose lives have been impacted by Russia’s illegitimate aggression. Russia is trying to cover up its human rights abuses by preventing access to Crimea for international monitors. But we will work closely with the UN and international partners to ensure Russia is held to account," British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
Also, the UK calls on Russia to immediately release all Ukrainian political prisoners held in Crimea and Russia – currently known to be over 100 - who are often kept in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions and refused access to proper medical treatment.
As noted, the UK has contributed nearly £700,000 to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission, which monitors and documents human rights abuses on the peninsula, while also providing human rights expertise to promote the right to a fair trial for political prisoners held in Crimea.