The US urges Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine

On the occasion of the second anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea, US State Department spokesman John Kirby issued a statement which reiterated the US's commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

"The United States does not accept Russia's 'referendum' on March 16, 2014, and does not recognize an attempt of the annexation of Crimea, which violates the international law," a press release by the United States Foreign Service stated.

Kirby stressed that since the occupation of Crimea, the new "power" suppresses the dissenting groups and religious and ethnic minorities, particularly the Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians. "Non-governmental organizations and independent media are still forced into silence or expelled and international observers are denied access to the peninsula," the State Department said.

"We will not accept the redistribution of the boundaries by force in the 21st century,” Kirby said. “The sanctions imposed after the annexation of the Crimea will remain in force as long as the occupation continues. We again call on Russia to end its occupation and return Crimea to Ukraine."

  USA, Ukraine, Russia, Crimea

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