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2014年3月15日 (土)

クリミア危機 住民投票は新たな混乱を呼ぶ

The Yomiuri Shimbun March 14, 2014
Referendum on Crimea joining Russia would only deepen turmoil
クリミア危機 住民投票は新たな混乱を呼ぶ(3月14日付・読売社説)

The Autonomous Republic of Crimea in the southern part of Ukraine, having effectively come under the military control of Russia, is poised to proceed with plans to merge with the Russian Federation through a referendum in the Crimean Peninsula.

If carried out, the referendum would almost certainly create a critical showdown between Russia, the United States and European countries over the Ukrainian crisis. Moscow should rethink its actions regarding Ukraine.

The Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol—a city on the Baltic Sea coast that has a special status in Ukraine—is scheduled to hold a referendum on Sunday on whether to break from Ukraine and join Russia. Given that a large majority of the residents are Russian speakers, the planned merger with Russia is expected to be approved if the local plebiscite takes place.

The parliament of the autono-mous republic has already adopted a “declaration of independence” in the run-up to its incorporation into Russia. Moscow has thrown its support behind the declaration.

In response, leaders of the Group of Seven major economies declared in a joint statement Wednesday their decision not to recognize the outcome of the referendum, which the G-7 believes would be in violation of Ukraine’s constitution.

The constitution of Ukraine stipulates that alterations to Ukraine’s borders require national referendums. It is therefore obvious that any unilateral decision by the autonomous republic on the border issue would be null and void. The argument on the part of the G-7 is absolutely reasonable.

It is also reasonable that the joint statement points out that the annexation of Crimea by Russia violates international law, including the U.N. Charter, which forbids threatening another country’s territorial integrity through military force.

This statement came about because the current problems facing Ukraine come against the background of Russia’s hard-line posture in which it thinks nothing of exercising military force for the sake of severing the Crimean Peninsula from the rest of Ukraine.

Battle of sanctions looming

Moscow has indicated the possibility of military intervention in the eastern region of Ukraine in the name of “protecting Russian-speaking residents” there. Since residents of the Crimean Peninsula, including those who speak Russian, are members of the nation of Ukraine, Moscow’s argument must be seen as nothing more than a pretext for sending troops to the autonomous republic.

The G-7 has proposed prodding Russia to accept three measures: the withdrawal of Russian troops from Crimea, allowing international observers into Ukraine and direct consultations with the provisional Ukrainian government. Moscow should promptly agree to the proposal.

If the referendum is carried out as planned, which could lead to Crimea’s merger with Russia, it would be inevitable for the United States and Europe to impose sanctions on Russia, such as visa bans and asset freezes on influential Russian individuals responsible for Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine.

U.S. President Barack Obama has firmly warned that the international community will be “forced to apply a cost to Russia’s violation of international law and encroachment on Ukraine,” if Moscow continues on its current aggressive path.

For its part, Moscow has hinted at taking countermeasures against sanctions, giving rise to anxieties about a battle of punitive actions. That would certainly adversely affect the global economy.

With the aim of breaking the impasse, foreign ministerial talks are scheduled for Friday between Russia and the United States. The Japanese government has sent Shotaro Yachi, head of the secretariat for the government’s National Security Council, to Moscow.

Japan must do its best to pursue ways of resolving the crisis by continuing to make diplomatic endeavors along with the United States and European countries.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 14, 2014)
(2014年3月14日01時23分  読売新聞)


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