South Korea does not recognize Russia's move to annex Crimea, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, joining some Western countries' denouncement of Russian President Vladimir Putin's takeover of the previous Ukrainian territory.
On Tuesday, Putin signed a treaty of accession with new leaders of Crimea, making the southern region of Ukraine a territory of Russia. The takeover took place as political instability continued in Crimea after the collapse late last month of Ukraine's previous Viktor Yanukovych government.
Major Western countries, including the United States, denounced Putin's action to be nationalistic and threatened tougher sanctions against Russia, with some media reports heralding a new cold war era.
Joining such critical voices, South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs voiced concerns over Russia's takeover of Crimea.
"The sovereignty, territorial right and independence of Ukraine must necessarily be respected," the ministry said in statement. "Our government cannot recognize the (recent) referendum on Crimean people and Russia's (subsequent) annexation of Crimea."
Russia announced that more than 90 percent of Crimean residents approved Russia's takeover of the region in a referendum last week, but allegations of a possible fraud have been raised. (Yonhap)