Japan joined the U.S. and the European Union in imposing sanctions on Russia for its act of recognizing Crimea’s vote and declaring it an independent state, by suspending talks on various matters with Moscow, news reports said Tuesday.
Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement Tuesday that the Crimean vote, which ruled in Russia's favor, violates Ukraine's status as a free country, adding that Japan does not recognize Crimea’s will to separate from Ukraine to join Russia. The suspended talks between Japan and Russia include issues such as relaxing visa norms, investments, cooperation in military drills and space exploration, and follows stronger sanctions from the U.S. and EU against Russian ministers on Monday after President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state.
“It is regretful that Russia’s recognition of the independence of Crimea interferes with the integrity of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territory,” Kishida told reporters. “We cannot overlook Russia’s attempt to change the status quo by force,” according to the Associated Press.
The Crimean parliament has formally asked Russia to admit the Republic of Crimea as a new subject, after it conducted an internal vote over the weekend and concluded that a majority of its residents wanted Crimea to be a part of Russia. Putin will reportedly make a proposal to the Kremlin Tuesday to recognize the new Crimean entity.
“It’s deplorable that Russia recognized the independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, a move that violates Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Japan's foreign ministry reportedly said in a statement Tuesday according to The Japan Times, a local newspaper. “Japan will suspend negotiations on easing visa requirements, and will not begin talks on a new investment accord, an outer space accord and an accord aimed at preventing risky military activities."
Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, vowed that the country would not give up Crimea, despite more than 93 percent of Crimean voters choosing to leave Ukraine to join Russia in a referendum termed illegal by western nations, including the U.S.
“We are ready for negotiations, but we will never resign ourselves to the annexation of our land,” Turchynov said in a televised address to the nation, according to The Japan Times. “We will do everything in order to avoid war and the loss of human lives. We will be doing everything to solve the conflict through diplomatic means. But the military threat to our state is real.”