Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (OVP) addressed Moscow in a particularly sharply worded way on Wednesday, with a clear message. At the same time, he praised Ukraine, whose President Volodymyr Zelensky also attended the Crimean Platform summit. “We will not let Russia get away with this crime,” said Schallenberg, who attended the meeting virtually. “Austria is at the forefront of setting up a special tribunal.”
Zelensky pledged to completely expel Russian forces from his country, including the Crimean peninsula, which was illegally annexed in 2014. “Crimea will be liberated, like all other parts of Ukraine, which unfortunately are still under the rule of the occupiers.”
According to Shallenberg, the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 was not Russia’s first violation of international law. “The roots of this evil go back to the illegal occupation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol,” he said. “But the intent has remained the same: the redraw of international borders in flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter.”
But for 546 days, Ukrainians have been “bravely resisting Russian brutality.” “They have defied Moscow’s belief that it can make right. For this they not only deserve our respect but also our continued support. “We will not waver in our commitment to a free, independent and prosperous Ukraine,” Schallenberg said, according to the text of the televised speech.
“We will not forget Crimea and the city of Sevastopol,” Shallenberg said. Therefore, Vienna will continue to press for “serious human rights violations, particularly against Crimean Tatars, the ongoing militarization of Crimea and its implications for security in the Black Sea region, including food exports”. The foreign minister said, “Crimea belongs to Ukraine!”
The Crimean Platform is an initiative of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, which works to restore Ukraine’s full sovereignty over Crimea in accordance with international law. The platform has been in existence since August 2021 and Austria has supported the initiative since its inception. At the installation ceremony in August 2021, Shallenberg was personally in Kiev. Besides Shallenberg, Selenskyj and Shallenberg’s counterpart Dmytro Kuleba also attended the summit.
Despite the war, many high-ranking foreign politicians came to Kiev, including the presidents of Portugal, Hungary and Lithuania, the prime ministers of Finland and Moldova, representatives of the Netherlands, Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the organizers, more than 60 representatives of states and international organizations took part. Most of them, like Schellenberg’s, were submitted online.