UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT DEMANDS THAT PUTIN FACES ‘INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE’ OVER CRIMEAN INVASION

Daily Mail, London, on February 23, 2015, reported that Petro Poroshenko says rights of Crimeans are being repressed by Russia and demanded both international and Ukrainian trials for all those responsible. Excerpts below:

Russian officials must stand trial in the Hague over the annexation. President Poroshenko also said that Ukraine will win back the Black Sea peninsula “in time”.

His demands came as Kiev delayed a promised pullback of heavy weapons from the front line in eastern Ukraine, saying continuous attacks from rebel troops means they cannot safely withdraw.

Poroshenko used an address on the first anniversary of the start of the annexation to promise his country will regain control over the peninsula.

‘I am not going to say today that it will happen quickly and easily,’ admitted the pro-Western president.

‘But it will definitely happen, we shall build together a new Crimea, where the rights and interests of the indigenous people of Crimea and all the inhabitants of the peninsula, regardless of their ethnic, language and religious background, will be guaranteed.’

He went on to demand Putin faces international justice over the annexation of Crimea.

‘The time will come, and anyone who has committed and will commit a crime against the Ukrainian state and human rights in Crimea, will face international and Ukrainian trials,’ he said.

Despite pro-Russian rebels making new inroads in eastern Ukraine in the past month, Poroshenko claimed his country ‘will never give up its sovereign rights to Crimea.’

The annexation – which began one year ago – was a ‘vile act carried out contrary to international law’, he said.

With rebels massing near the strategic port of Mariupol, in violation of a ceasefire, Kiev refused to pull back its heavy weapons, claiming its forces were still targeted by separatists.

‘As Ukrainian positions are still being fired upon there can be no talk yet of a withdrawal of arms,’ said military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov .

If Mariupol falls to the pro-Russian rebels, it would remove a key obstacle to creating a separatist land corridor stretching from Russia’s border with Ukraine to Crimea.

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