On Sunday, an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians living in Crimea showed favor in separating from Ukraine and becoming part of Russia. While the Ukraine government is calling the vote illegal and has no plans on supporting the decision, Russian President Vladimir Putin defended the decision on Sunday during a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, claiming that the vote complied with international law.
According to an official statement put out by Putin’s press office, he told Merkel “that the Crimean people express their will in full accordance with international law, in particular, article 1 of the United Nations Charter that sets forth the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples. It has been stressed that Russia will respect the Crimean people’s choice.”
Merkel, however, was in disagreement with Putin’s logic on the validity, with German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert condemning the vote, stating that it “is illegal in our view”, and that “not only do we and our European partners contest the legitimacy of the referendum; we will not recognise the results.”
One thing Merkel regretted was the lack of effort shown in putting together some form of “international contact group” that would find a better solution to the problem politically. On their call, both Putin and Merkel could agree that despite their differing views on the situation, there needs to be “a common interest in de-escalation of the tensions and normalisation of the situation as soon as possible.”
While the issue is still being resolved, Putin and Merkel have agreed to continue their regular conversations on the matter.