Ukraine Will ‘Never Accept’ Russian Crimea, But Has Few Options

Ukranian officials are livid today after a referendum set the stage for Crimean accession into the Russian Federation. Crimea is being recognized as independent by Russia now, and annexation is expected at some point in the future.

Ukrainian interim President Oleksandr Turchinov says his government will “never accept” the annexation of Crimea into Russia, though the practical matter is there is little to nothing he can do about it.

What this means in the long run, if and when the annexation comes, is a protracted territorial dispute, though Russia’s size and the overwhelming results of the referendum mean it will be a theoretical dispute more than a literal one.

There are scores of territorial disputes worldwide, so this is really nothing new, though the Crimea is among the largest such disputed territories. Barring some dramatic shift in popular sentiment among Crimeans, however, it is likely to stay a Russian Republic within the Federation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.