David L. Phillips Director, Program on Peace-building and Rights, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University

Abstract

Russia is pointing to the “Kosovo precedent” as justification for its actions in Crimea. This is a false argument. There are fundamental legal and political differences between the internationally sanctioned process, which culminated in Kosovo’s independence, and Russia’s land-grab in Crimea. Kosovo’s independence is based on international law; Russia’s annexation of Crimea is not.