Ukraine crisis: Hague condemns Russia's "land grab"

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Foreign Secretary William Hague has condemned Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region as a "land grab" that violates international law.

Mr Hague said Moscow had chosen "a route of isolation" by signing a treaty to absorb the peninsula into Russia.

He told MPs it was "the most serious test of European security" and warned that European failure to "stand up" to Russia would risk the credibility of the international order.

"No amount of sham and perverse democratic process or skewed historical references can make up for the fact this is an incursion into a sovereign state and a land grab of part of its territory with no respect for the law of that country of for international law," Mr Hague said on 18 March 2014.

The Conservative secretary of state informed the House that preparations are under way for a "third tier" of sanctions against Russia, including economic and financial measures, and that the UK has suspended all military cooperation with Russia.

"Credibility of international systems rests on there being costs attached to breaking binding commitments, and refusing to address disputes through peaceful diplomacy," he said.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said few would argue that the international response had been effective in securing a change of approach from Russia.

"I regret that to date that the EU's unity in condemning Russian military aggression has not been matched by a shared resolve to act more decisively in extracting costs and consequences for Russia's actions."

He said the potential for further escalation of the crisis "remains real and deeply troubling".

Crimea declared independence from Ukraine on Monday after a widely condemned referendum.

Officials say 97% of voters backed breaking away from Ukraine and joining Russia, but the EU and US have declared the vote illegal and imposed sanctions.

Mr Hague said the referendum made a "mockery of all democratic practice".

Part two of the debate can be found here.

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