Five years after Russian forces took Crimea from Ukraine, the international community is still struggling with how to respond to a major power seizing another country’s territory for the first time since World War II and the founding of the United Nations, a senior State Department official said.
On the five-year anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Amb. Taylor—a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine—explains why it has been so difficult for Ukraine and its allies to oust Russia from the Ukrainian territory. “Sadly … the people of Crimea are worse off than they were five years ago,” while the West continues to struggle with how to respond to Moscow’s territorial grab.
Five years ago, Russia rolled into Crimea, orchestrated a swift and one-sided referendum, and annexed the Ukrainian territory. The West was blindsided by the attack and slow to provide any response. As a result, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a second invasion of Ukrainian soil—this one in the country’s east. This attack met stronger resistance, and eventually the West swung into gear to push for a cease-fire and to impose sanctions on Russia. Yet the conflict rumbles on and has killed over 10,300 Ukrainians so far.