Ukraine ambassador objects to Straits Times illustration of country without Crimean peninsula

The Ukraine Ambassador responded in a letter to Straits Times.

Sulaiman Daud | November 7, 2019 @ 01:31 pm


The Embassy of Ukraine in Singapore, Brunei and New Zealand strongly objected to an illustration of a map of their country that appeared in The Straits Times (ST).

On Oct. 7, ST published an article by Jonathan Eyal, titled “Global Affairs: US attention poses dangers for Ukraine”.

It appeared in both the print and online editions of ST.

ST illustration of Ukraine missing the Crimean Peninsula

The article, which is paywalled, included an illustration by cartoonist Miel of what appears to be President Donald Trump looking at a map of Ukraine.

But that depiction of Ukraine was missing the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in March 2014, a move which was roundly condemned by the international community.

A comparison

Here’s the illustration from ST:

Screen shot from Straits Times.

For comparison, here’s a map of Ukraine from the United Nations:

Screen shot from the United Nations Department of Cartography.

Note that ST’s illustration of Ukraine is missing the Crimean Peninsula in the bottom right corner.

Ukraine Ambassador responded

This prompted a letter from Ukraine Ambassador Dmytro Senik, titled “Crimea is still Ukraine territory“.

Senik wrote that he was disappointed with the illustration, and even if it was unintentional, it was “disturbing”.

He elaborated that under international law, Crimea is still Ukrainian territory.

Senik said:

“So, it is not just about a wrongly painted spot on a map, but about law, justice, peace and thousands of lives that have been shaken by it.

Russia’s annexation is not just an attack on Ukraine, but an attack on the rules-based international order. We rely on every voice to support international law, order and justice.

Ukraine is thankful to Singapore for all the support and its principled position. Any validation of Russia’s action, inadvertent or otherwise, in the form of a political statement or a hastily drawn illustration, is unacceptable.”

The letter was published in ST on Oct. 12, in both the print and online versions of the paper.

Facebook post by embassy

On Oct. 29, the Ukraine Embassy’s Facebook page shared further comments on the issue in a post.

While most of the text was similar to the letter written by Senik, it appeared to include additional lines:

“What happened in March 2014 was the first forceful and clearly, unlawful land grab in Europe since Hitler.”

“It showed that a member of the UN Security Council can in a whiff turn from a respected international referee into an aggressor.”

It also added that Russia had started a “heinous undeclared war”.

You can see the post below:

Russian annexation of Crimea

Following pro-EU protests in December 2013 and violent clashes, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country.

Ukraine’s parliament removed him and called for an election.

But in Februay 2014, pro-Russia gunmen seize key buildings in Crimea.

In March 2014, Crimea voted to join Russia in a disputed referendum, according to the BBC.

Later that month, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation in Moscow to accept Crimea as part of Russia.

For this, Russia was expelled from the Group of Eight (G8) and had economic sanctions levied against them by the U.S. and the European Union.

Singapore’s stance

In 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Singapore opposed the annexation of Crimea by Russia.

According to ST, then-Minister for Foreign Affairs, K Shanmugam, said:

“Singapore affirms the principles of respect for territorial integrity, non-interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign nation, respect for sovereignty and the rule of law. Singapore therefore opposes the annexation of Crimea into Russia.”

One month after it was published, the illustration could still be found in the digital version of the article.

Top image from Ukraine Embassy in Singapore, Brunei and New Zealand Facebook page.

About Sulaiman Daud

Sulaiman believes that we can be heroes, if just for one day. His favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi's Twelve and his favourite person is Jürgen Klopp. He also writes about film and pop-culture, which you are very welcome to read here.

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