Surprise, surprise… 95% of people of Crimea have voted for independence. Someone might say that the results had been ready before the actual voting even took place. But let’s stick to the facts.
First, the Russian Parliament approved the use of the armed forces in Ukraine if necessary.
Then, President Putin actually sent the troops to cease the Peninsula thereby laid down grounds for the desirable results of the future referendum.
Now, Russian is to incorporate the allegedly independent sate of Crimea into its territory.
The question of legality of the Crimea referendum in terms of the domestic constitutional law of Ukraine was dealt with at length HERE.
In a nut shell -
both, the referendum and unilateral declaration of independence are plainly illegal under the Constitution of Ukraine (art.73 and art.134 respectively).
What is more, the result of voting is clearly not legitimate due to the lack of time for a proper consideration and presence of the Russian troops across the Peninsula.
When it comes to international law:
UN Charter, Article 2(4)
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances
1. Respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders.
2. Refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine.
3. Refrain from using economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its politics.
So here it is point by point:
Approval of the hypothetical use of force against Ukraine by the Russian Parliament – threat of use of force =
Sending troops to Crimea (Ukraine) – use of force =
Endorsing the unconstitutional referendum in Crimea – influencing the domestic matters of the sovereign state =
Annexing Crimea – intrusion upon the territorial integrity of Ukraine =
The conclusion is rather obvious – the Russian Federation has breached the relevant international treaty and completely ignored the UN Charter.
This is a textbook situation that the UN Security Council has been established to deal with. In theory it could authorise the use of force against Russia in order to restore peace and prevent it from annexing the Crimea Peninsula. In theory.
Unfortunately due to the right of veto, Russia managed to block the adoption of a resolution which urged countries not to recognize the results of the referendum. The Council remains in political deadlock and consequently the whole organisation of the United Nations is not able to perform its duties. It seems it’s time to reform the structure of the Security Council and remove the right of veto that has barred the Council from reaching important decisions on numerous occasions.
On the top of that, no one wants to listen to the US criticism because America has lost its legitimacy as a leader of the ‘free world’. Had the US not spied on its citizens, had it not tortured people, had it not been regularly invading different countries, its voice would have sounded more powerful. The way it used to.