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Finland condemns 'illegal' Crimean vote

Sunday's referendum on secession in Crimea was unconstitutional and "will only aggravate the situation further," says the Council of State. According to preliminary reports, more than nine out of 10 voters approved the plan.

Presidentti Sauli Niinistö.
President Sauli Niinistö, just back from a trip to Lebanon, met with key ministers on Sunday. Image: Yle

Finland on Sunday declared the referendum on secession in Crimea to be illegal.

Following a meeting between President Sauli Niinistö and the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy, the Council of State issued a statement expressing “utmost concern” over the situation in Ukraine.

“The referendum that is held in Crimea today is against the Ukrainian constitution and, as such, illegal – it will only aggravate the situation further,” the statement asserts.

Finland is calling for the crisis to “be resolved in accordance with international law and through negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, if necessary within a multilateral framework, and with due respect to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

The statement notes that Finland is taking part in the EU decision-making process following measures announced at the March 6 summit. Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja travelled to Brussels on Sunday to attend an EU ministerial meeting that on Monday.

Besides Tuomioja, the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy includes Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, Defence Minister Carl Haglund and up to four other selected ministers.

According to preliminary reports, some 93 percent of those who cast a vote in Crimea supported the move to rejoin Russia. However many, including most of the Tatar minority, boycotted the election.

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