LONDON, March 18 (RIA Novosti) – The United Kingdom has put on hold its military cooperation with Russia, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday, calling the reunification of Crimea “a land grab.”
"We have cancelled French, Russian, UK, US naval exercises, and suspended a proposed Royal Navy ship visit to Russia," Hague told the House of Commons.
The Black Sea peninsula with a Russian ethnic majority signed a reunification treaty with Moscow after a referendum in which some 96.7 percent of voters backed joining Russia after 60 years as part of Ukraine.
"It was regrettable to hear President Putin today choosing the route of isolation, denying the citizens of his own country, and of Crimea, partnership with the international community and full membership of a range of international organizations," he said.
The UK top diplomat described the Crimea referendum as "a mockery of democratic practice."
He also called the crisis in Ukraine "is the most serious test of European security in the 21st century so far."
"No amount of sham and perverse democratic process or skewed historical references can make up for the fact that this is an incursion into a sovereign state and a land grab of part of its territory with no respect for the law of that country or for international law," he said.