Blow for Putin as Iran refuses to recognise Crimea and four regions of Donbas as Russian

Image of Hossein Amir Abdollahian. Credit: Wikipedia - By Mehr News Agency, CC BY 4.0,

Despite maintaining ‘good relations’ with Moscow, Iran says it will never recognise Crimea and four other regions of Donbas as Russian.


During an interview on Thursday, January 19, with the Turkish TV channel TRT World, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Iran confirmed that Tehran did not recognise Crimea and four other regions of Donbas as Russian.

This will come as a huge blow to President Vladimir Putin who clearly sees the Republic of Iran as an ally. Abdollahian insisted that Crimea, DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, with reference to the observance of international laws, were Ukrainian territory, as reported by

“Therefore, despite the excellent relations between Tehran and Moscow, we did not recognise the separation of Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk regions from Ukraine. We insist on our consistent principle in foreign policy: when we say that the conflict in Ukraine is not a solution, we believe in our position as a fundamental political principle”, he told the TV channel.

The Iranian minister stressed that the country’s authorities “do not strive for double standards. We oppose the wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, and Afghanistan. And in the same way, we oppose the war and the displacement of people in Ukraine”.

Almost simultaneously with this statement, the second conversation in 10 days between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi took place. They discussed “topical issues in bilateral relations, including cooperation in the energy and transport sectors”, according to the Kremlin’s website.

The leaders of the countries also touched upon the situation in Syria. “The importance of continuing close coordination within the framework of the Astana process as a key mechanism for promoting the Syrian settlement was noted”, it said on the website. Putin and Raisi agreed to maintain contact between the countries at different levels.

Unlike Western countries, Iran did not impose anti-Russian sanctions and consistently advocated strengthening interstate relations.

On January 19, Iranian Foreign Minister Abdollahian expressed the opinion that the main reason for the conflict in Ukraine is “the provocative actions of NATO and some Western states”. He believes that the events in the region are a complex situation.

“Some think tanks in the West believe that the war in Ukraine is a new beginning in the history of international relations. Well, the position of the Islamic Republic of Iran was clear from the very beginning of this war and was confirmed at the highest level. We oppose war and aim for a political settlement”,  the minister stressed.

Ukraine, the US, and the EU have all accused Tehran of supporting the Russian invasion, including the transfer of weapons to Moscow. The Russian and Iranian authorities denied this.

Previously, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic expressed his position on Russia’s ownership of Crimea and the four regions of Donbas. In an interview with Bloomberg, the politician said that Belgrade would never recognise these regions as part of Russia.

“We said from the very beginning that we could not and do not have the right to support the Russian invasion of Ukraine. For us, Crimea is Ukraine. Donbas is Ukraine, and it will always be so”, he stressed. Vucic also expressed his opinion on the conflict in Ukraine. He believed that “the worst is yet to come”.

After the coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014, the authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol held referendums on the issue of the territory joining Russia. More than 80 per cent of the local residents who had the right to vote took part in it. The vast majority were in favour.

On March 18, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement on the admission of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia. Despite the results of the referendum, Kyiv and its allies refused to recognise Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.

In September last year, similar referendums were held in the DPR, LPR, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. On October 4, Russian President Putin, following a vote, signed laws on the admission of regions into the country.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]