One Way or Another: What Will Crimea Do Regarding Its’ Sovereignty?


In 1954 the Russians made a deciding move to hand Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula connected to the southern tip of Ukraine, over to Ukrainian rule. With limited evidence of this informal transaction of land, the conflict has only grown. A referendum, of which many find to be utterly illegal, in 2014 “allowed” Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to admit Crimea into Russia. This oversteps Crimea’s, as well as Ukraine’s, sovereign boundaries. The uti possidetis states that in international law, territory won in war legally remains with its victor. This has kept Crimea safe as an autonomous state. Putin’s actions illustrate how making exceptions to legally observed doctrines can threaten the stability of independent nations. Crimea’s population is left in turmoil as they are split between who wants to secede to Russia or who would rather remain autonomous with Ukraine.

One should conclude after hearing about this conflict that it is best for the state of Crimea to defend its sovereignty to Russian diplomats, as well as Russian supporters in the Crimean society. Members of the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) have stated that they cannot accept Crimea’s heavily influenced vote as legitimate. Russia simply does not have authorized permission to annex Crimea, no matter their deep historical ties, and needs to be reprimanded. It is agreed upon worldwide, that despite Russia’s best attempts, “Crimea remains sovereign Ukrainian territory.” Some argue there are reasons for Crimean citizens to feel they should again join Russia, with the promise of a stable economy. Majority of their population identify as ethnically, linguistically and religiously Russian, and some would prefer to be ruled from Moscow instead of Kiev. However, Ukraine maintains closer relations with the EU than Russia, and Crimean citizens under Russian rule today are still suffering economically. This crisis goes to show how in sovereign affairs, states can be driven by selfish, inconsiderate impulses.

Countries, and individuals, around the globe have different understandings and expectations of sovereignty, nevertheless, Russia has not observed any of these principles. By illegitimately seizing Crimea from Ukraine, they have put the potential to enhance their own welfare first, and interfered with the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Putin’s explicit realist beliefs shine as he both defends and breaches sovereignty to achieve national stability and strengthen territorial integrity. He hopes to make the annexation irreversible by occupying Ukrainian military bases. Crimea should be free to decide and enforce laws, as well as hold responsibility and power over what happens within their borders. Russia’s intrusions in domestic elections, as well as their prevalent impact on external state relations, are in clear violation of the keys to successful sovereignty. Leaders in Moscow fear multilateral, international organizations like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will destabilize Russia’s European security. NATO searches to reform the Russian military, and other militaries for that matter, that seek to terrorize sovereign states. Shortly after the vote in Crimea, Obama’s administration took steps in favor of repercussions for Russia, and many liberals hope to see this followed through on. Others sit by waiting to see if this conflict will pass by, if anything can come of either Russia’s actions or Ukraine’s reactions, and anticipate punishment from the UN or EU for what Russia has done within sovereign borders. One cannot presume to undergo zero repercussions after infringing on another state’s sovereign rights.


“Explaining the Crimea Disagreement.” The Washington Post, Mar. 2014,
Accessed 15 Oct. 2018.

Kontorovich, Eugene. “Crimea, International Law, and the West Bank.” Commentary, vol. 137, no. 6, June 2014, p. 25. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 14 Oct. 2018.