Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto issued a statement on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
For the head of Finnish diplomacy, the annexation of the territory was "illegal", and a "serious violation of international law", therefore Finland "does not recognize it".
Furthermore, Finland says it is concerned about the human rights situation and the "militarization" of the peninsula. The statement, released by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the anniversary, reads as follows:
Statement from the foreign minister
"This year marks the seventh anniversary of the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia.
The matter is a serious violation of international law, the Charter of the United Nations and Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Finland reiterates its firm and unambiguous support for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. Finland does not recognise Crimea to be part of Russia. Finland implements the EU’s joint non-recognition policy of the illegal annexation of Crimea, as well as the restrictive measures put in place due to Russia’s actions. Finland supports international efforts to restore Ukraine's territorial integrity.
Finland is concerned about the human rights situation in the Crimean Peninsula, which is continuing to deteriorate. The illegal annexation puts at risk Crimean people’s opportunities to maintain their culture, identity and other fundamental rights. Unlawful detentions and convictions, forced conscription to serve in the Russian armed forces, and other forms of exercise of pressure are directed especially at the Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians.
Finland stresses that people who are unlawfully detained and convicted should be released, human rights violations and breaches should be investigated, and the perpetrators should be brought to justice. International human rights and humanitarian organisations should be granted unimpeded access to Crimea. Finland calls attention to the humanitarian law applicable to such situations as occupation and to the fact that states are bound by human rights obligations also when they are exercising their powers outside their own territory.
Finland is concerned about the continuing militarisation of the Crimean Peninsula, which undermines the security of the whole area around the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The Kerch Strait Bridge, which was constructed without Ukraine's consent, further violates Ukraine's territorial integrity. Russia must ensure unhindered and free passage of vessels through the Kerch Strait."