Explanation of Vote on a Third Committee Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, Ukraine

Ambassador Elisabeth Millard
U.S. Senior Area Advisor for European Affairs
New York, New York
November 16, 2022


Russia’s full-scale invasion in February escalated the Kremlin’s long-running aggression against Ukraine, in further violation of the UN Charter and Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Since 2014, when Russia illegally seized Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, the United States has rejected its attempt to change Ukraine’s borders by force. We have also repeatedly called out Russia and its proxies for their abuses and atrocities in Crimea and other parts of Ukraine.

Russia is employing the same playbook it used in Crimea in its attempt to seize and illegally annex additional areas of Ukraine, including sham referenda, forced Russification, installation of puppet authorities, and other illegitimate methods to impose its control through coercion, fear, and force. Today, we have an opportunity to reaffirm that Crimea is Ukraine and that Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea and other parts of Ukraine’s territory will never be recognized. We will not stand silent as Russia continues its blatant violations of international law.

The already dire human rights situation in temporarily Russia-occupied Crimea has further worsened since February. We remain deeply concerned about Russia’s repression of Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians, and others who peacefully oppose Russia’s occupation. Credible reports document abuses by Russia’s forces and puppet authorities in the parts of Ukraine under its temporary control, including extrajudicial killings, kidnappings, torture, and sexual and gender-based violence, among others. We see credible reports of deliberate separation of Ukraine’s children from their parents and abductions from orphanages. Russia has also severely restricted the exercise of freedoms of expression, association, religion or belief, and peaceful assembly.

Today’s resolution draws attention to the alarming situation in Crimea and other parts of Ukraine where Russia’s forces are present. The resolution underscores a message all countries should support — that respect for international law, including the UN Charter, and for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, matters.

The United States is proud to co-sponsor this resolution. We urge other Member States to support it as well.