Russia To Convene Informal UN Security Council Meeting on Crimea Next Week

Russia will convene an informal UN Security Council meeting on Crimea on March 17, Russia’s first deputy envoy to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, said in his Telegram channel, TASS writes.

The diplomat said that Western nations announced an Arria formula meeting devoted to Crimea, to be held at the UN Security Council on Friday, March 12.

“Ukrainians and their Western sponsors have long been using the anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia as a pretext for lamenting alleged human rights violations in Russia’s Crimea, telling the world once again that it does not recognize its ‘occupation’ by Russia and tossing another portion of fake news about the Russian peninsula to the media,” Polyanskiy said.

According to the Russian diplomat, Russia suggested inviting Crimean residents to the meeting, but the initiative was rejected.

“After a lengthy pause, our colleagues predictably refused, without even explaining their reasons. They have absolutely no interest in a true account of the situation on the peninsula,” he said. “That is why, without any delays <…> we announced our own Arria meeting on Crimea on March 17. Residents of the peninsula selected great delegates, representing the Crimean society, for taking part in it.”

In his words, Russia expects its Western partners to attend the meeting.

The previous Arria formula meeting on Crimea at the UN Security Council was held on Russia’s initiative last May, in the format of a video conference.

The so-called Arria formula provides UN Security Council members with an opportunity to discuss pressing issues not only among themselves, but also with the participation of other nations and civil society members. The format is named after Venezuelan diplomat Diego Arria, who organized the first such meeting at the UN in 1992.

After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in a coup in February 2014, mass protests erupted in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. On March 11, 2014, Crimea’s Supreme Council and Sevastopol City Council adopted a declaration of independence.

On March 16, 2014, Crimean authorities held a referendum on reuniting with Russia. Over 80% of voters participated in the plebiscite, most of them supporting the idea (96.7% in Crimea and 95.6% in the city of Sevastopol).

On March 18, President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the Federal Assembly (Russia’s bicameral parliament) approved the document on March 21. However, Kiev has so far refused to acknowledge Crimea as part of Russia.