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Республика Крым
Respublika Krym

Flag of Crimea.png
Arms of Crimea.png
Flag Coat of Arms
Capital Simferopol
Language Russian (official)
Prime minister Sergey Aksyonov
Area 27,000 km2
Population 1,966,801

The Crimea is a diamond-shaped peninsula in Russia, surrounded on its NW, SW and SE sides by the Black Sea and on its NE side by the Sea of Azov; it is connected to the Ukrainian mainland by a narrow isthmus. The capital is the port city of Sevastopol.


The Crimea was the location of the Crimean War of 1853-56 in which British, French, Sardinian and Turkish forces fought Russia in a war sparked by an abstruse dispute over the question of custodianship of the Holy Places in Jerusalem. When Lenin took power through revolution, he at first ceded Ukraine to Germany at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Later the Treaty of Versailles did not recognize the cessation. Lenin then established a system of autonomous republics in which he separated Ukraine and Belarus from the former Russian Empire. After Nikita Khrushchev took power in 1953, he gave Crimea to Ukraine. The peninsula was also the location of heavy fighting during the Second World War. It contains the resort town of Yalta, location of the Yalta Conference of February 1945, attended by Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin.

Ivan Aivazovsky, Seascape in Crimea, 1866.

The 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances was signed by then-Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, and John Major. The agreement required that the signatories “respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and “refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.”[1] Under the agreement, Russia agreed that Crimea was a part of Ukraine. However, Russia and Crimea also signed a lease allowing Russia to retain existing Soviet naval bases for a finite time period.

After the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, Russia and Ukraine tried to find a relationship as separate countries. In 1992, the Crimean Parliament voted to hold a referendum to declare independence, while the Russian Parliament voted to void the cession of Crimea to Ukraine.[2][3] However, Russia backed pro-Russian political leaders in Ukraine.

At the same time, most Ukrainians favored stronger ties with Europe and sought to join the European Union and perhaps even NATO. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was pressured by Russia to delay signing a treaty that would lead to Ukraine joining the EU, which lead to widespread Euromaidan riots in a U.S.-backed color revolution with support from Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary group that overturned the government. On February 22, 2014, Yanukovych fled Kyiv for Russia.[4] He was then impeached. Although Russia was constrained from responding while hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics, a week after the Olympics ended, Russia moved against the Western installed regime in Kyiv by taking actions in Russian-majority regions of Crimea and in the Donbas of eastern Ukraine.

Five days after the ouster of Ukraine's democratically elected president in the Western-backed Maidan coup, Russian soldiers landed in Crimea.[5] Because some of the people currently living in Crimea are ethinic Russians, there was a dispute whether Crimea belongs to Ukraine or to Russia.[6] On March 11, 2014, Crimea declared its independence from Ukraine.[7] The Crimean Peninsula—82% of whose households speak Russian, and only 2% mainly Ukrainian—held a plebiscite on March 16, 2014 on whether or not they should join Russia, or remain under the new Ukrainian government. The Pro-Russia camp won with 95% of the vote. The UN General Assembly, led by the US, voted to ignore the referendum results on the grounds that it was contrary to Ukraine’s constitution. This same constitution had been set aside to oust President Yanukovych a month earlier.[8]

Afghanistan, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.[9] On March 27, the U.N. General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution (100 in favor, 11 against and 58 abstentions) declaring Crimea's referendum invalid.[10][11][12][13][14] In response, the United States and Europe have imposed sanctions against Russian trade.

In February 2017 President Trump accused Russia of taking Crimea by force and asked whether Obama was too soft on Russia.[15] US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that the US won't recognize Russia's invasion of Ukraine:

The United States calls on Russia to respect the principles to which it has long claimed to adhere and to end its occupation of Crimea. As democratic states seek to build a free, just, and prosperous world, we must uphold our commitment to the international principle of sovereign equality and respect the territorial integrity of other states. Through its actions, Russia has acted in a manner unworthy of a great nation and has chosen to isolate itself from the international community.[16]


  2. Schmemann, Serge. "Crimea Parliament Votes to Back Independence From Ukraine", 6 May 1992. Retrieved on 3 March 2014. 
  3. Schmemann, Serge. "Russia Votes to Void Cession of Crimea to Ukraine", 22 May 1992. Retrieved on 3 March 2014. 
  4. Booth, William. "Ukraine’s Yanukovych missing as protesters take control of presidential residence in Kiev", 22 February 2014. Retrieved on 23 March 2014. 
  10. "U.N. General Assembly declares Crimea secession vote invalid", Mar 27, 2014. 
  11. "U.N. General Assembly resolution calls Crimean referendum invalid", March 27, 2014. 
  12. "Backing Ukraine’s territorial integrity, UN Assembly declares Crimea referendum invalid", 27 March 2014. 
  13. "UN General Assembly approves referendum calling Russia annexation of Crimea illegal", March 27, 2014. 
  14. "Ukraine: UN condemns Crimea vote as IMF and US back loans", BBC. 
  15. Donald Trump accuses Russia of taking Crimea by force in attempt to distance himself from campaign allegations
  16. Crimea Declaration