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Russian lawmakers propose draft bill declaring 'illegal' return of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954

by Dmytro Basmat March 12, 2024 2:50 AM 2 min read
The Russian flag flies atop the Russian State Duma, the nation's lower house of parliament, on July 14, 2023. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP via Getty Images)
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Lawmakers of the ruling United Russia political party submitted a draft law to the Russian State Duma on March 11 declaring Russia's 1954 return of Crimea to Ukraine "illegal."

The draft bill, which was submitted to Russia's lower house, claims that the internationally recognized return of Crimea to the then Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic was "illegal and contradicting fundamental principles of a lawful state and international law."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly echoed similar false claims regarding Russia's perceived historical grievances, using them to justify Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The authors of the draft law, State Duma Member Konstantin Zatulin and Senator Sergey Tsekov, alleged that if the bill is passed it would become increasingly difficult for Western allies "to support Kyiv’s intention to take back Crimea."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly stated that Ukraine's ultimate goal is the liberation of all occupied areas of Ukrainian territory, including Crimea, and that any other results of the war would "not be victory."

Crimea was returned to the then Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in April 1954 when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev authorized the formal transfer of Crimea, including the naval city of Sevastopol.

This decision, formally marking the 300th anniversary of the 1654 Treaty of Pereiaslav between Ukrainian Cossacks and Russia, was also motivated by economic rationality and was enshrined in law both by the Supreme Soviet and in the constitutions of both the Ukrainian and Russian SSRs.

Who does Crimea really belong to?
Russia’s war against Ukraine began in Crimea. In February 2014, as the pro-Russian regime in Kyiv was killing protesters on the barricades of the EuroMaidan Revolution, thousands of Russian troops without insignia began occupying strategic locations and military bases in the Crimean Peninsula. Wit…




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