Austria's Foreign Minister Schallenberg at Crimea Platform

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: August 23, 2023; 23:48 ♦ (Vindobona)

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg virtually participated in the Crimea Platform Summit - an initiative of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs working to restore Ukraine's full sovereignty over Crimea in accordance with international law. The meeting took place on the eve of Ukrainian Independence Day.

The meeting took place on the eve of Ukrainian Independence Day, which this time is celebrated exactly one and a half years after the beginning of the Russian war of aggression devastating Ukraine. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / State Emergency Service of Ukraine/ CC BY-SA 4.0 (

"Russia must not go scot-free for its misdeeds," Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg stressed in a powerful message during his virtual participation in the Crimea Platform Summit on Aug. 23, 2023, a high-level meeting held a day before Ukraine's Independence Day aimed at restoring Ukraine's sovereignty over Crimea in accordance with international law.

Ukraine is celebrating its Independence Day this year in the shadow of the brutal Russian attack that began exactly a year and a half ago. Since then, Russia has caused death, destruction and chaos in the region. Schallenberg stressed the need for a special tribunal to prosecute Russian acts of aggression against Ukraine. He stated, "We will not let Russia's crimes go unnoticed. Austria is at the forefront of calling for such a tribunal."

Schallenberg also recalled Russia's previous breach of international law - the illegal annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol in 2014, seeing Russia's repeated actions as an attempt to redefine international borders in defiance of the United Nations Charter.

The Austrian Foreign Minister expressed his deep solidarity with Ukraine and paid his respect to the Ukrainian people for their steadfast resistance to Russian supremacy. He said, "For 546 days, the people of Ukraine have stood against Russian brutality. Moscow's assumption that might makes right is belied by their bravery."

He further assured that Austria will continue its opposition to Russia's human rights violations, especially against the Crimean Tatars, and will continue to oppose the militarization of Crimea. He drew attention to the serious consequences of the Russian occupation on security and food supplies in the Black Sea region and condemned Russia's use of food as a weapon. Schallenberg concluded with a clear message: "Crimea belongs to Ukraine." It is worth noting that Austria has supported the Crimea Platform Initiative since its inception in 2021. Schallenberg had even personally attended the founding event in Kyiv.