Exactly one year ago, the people of Crimea, previously an autonomous republic within Ukraine, voted by an overwhelming majority to join Russia after refusing to recognize Kiev's new leadership installed after a coup in February.
The European Union, along with allied Western nations, did not recognize the move and has handed down a series of sanctions against Russia's critical defense, energy and banking sectors, as well as a number of high-ranking officials.
- I respect the right of Crimeans to self-determination. It helped to avoid humanitarian catastrophe that is currently unfolding in southeastern Ukraine.70.5% (1911)
- I condemn this referendum, as it has destabilized the entire region and reduced the international credibility of Russia.10.0% (272)
- I think in geopolitical terms, it has helped strengthen Russia's security and stabilize the situation in the region.19.5% (530)
The 28-member economic bloc imposed a one-year embargo on the peninsula in June 25, 2014, banning the import of goods and services into the EU without Ukrainian certification.
In mid-December, all European investment in Crimea and the city of Sevastopol was banned.
Additionally in Monday's communique, Brussels expressed concern over the "continuous military build-up" and the human rights situation in Crimea.