NZ dismisses Crimea referendum
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has dismissed today's referendum on the status of Crimea.
The referendum is widely expected to see control of the Crimea transferred from the Ukraine to Russia amidst the greatest East-West crisis since the Cold-War.
The West has spoken out strongly against it, threatening sanctions and attempting to pass a UN Security Council resolution declaring it invalid, though this was blocked by Russia which has amassed troops on the Crimean border.
McCully said today that New Zealand would not recognise the result of the referendum.
"This referendum has been organised hastily, under the threat of force, and without any prior efforts to consult or negotiate a settlement consistent with the Constitution of Ukraine."
The current situation in the Crimea "represents an unjustified threat to the territorial integrity of Ukraine," he said.
McCully expressed his disappointment that the UN resolution failed.
"New Zealand strongly supports the right of citizens to determine their own future. However this should be done in an environment that is free and fair, and in accordance with accepted democratic principles."
Proceeding with the referendum worsened the tensions in the area, he said.