Though the Obama Administration has insisted no one was going to recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea, it’s been impossible not to notice, and some small but meaningful changes are taking place.
The Associated Press has announced a change to all datelines for stories coming out of the Crimea, replacing the country identifier from Ukraine to Crimea for cities on the peninsula.
Even once annexation is final, the AP won’t replace Crimea with Russia, however, because it doesn’t share a land border with the rest of Russia. The AP will treat it similarly to other exclaves and islands: e.g. cities on Sicily are listed as Sicily instead of Italy.
National Geographic is also weighing in, with its new maps listing Crimea as a “disputed” territory, and officials for the group saying that once Russia’s parliament votes to officially annex Crimea, the maps will change again to reflect a Russian border change.
National Geographic insists it portrays the world as it is, and not as someone else wants it to be, and its map policies is to show de facto borders as opposed to any given nation’s official position.
The US State Department, by contrast, insists it doesn’t intend to ever change its maps, and will continue to show Crimea as part of the Ukraine, even though it isn’t.