News from occupied Crimea: Elimination of 'Crimea federal district' does not change US sanction policy - Pyatt

11:54 Jul. 31, 2016

Elimination of 'Crimea federal district' does not change US sanction policy - Pyatt

Geoffrey Pyatt, US Ambassador to Ukraine (UNIAN Photo)

On July 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin made Crimea and Sevastopol part of the Southern Federal District

The United States will not change its policy on Russia-occupied Crimea regardless of the Kremlin's decision to 'annihilate' the peninsula autonomy.

This was stated by US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt during the telephone talks with journalists as part of the communication project Brussels hub, the Ukrainian news outlet Yevropesika Pravda reports.

"This decision does not matter anything for the US. We do not recognize the annexation of Crimea and the fact who is governor of Sevastopol or Crimea will not make us change our sanction policy. We announced before and further believe that Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine," Yevropeiska Pravda quoted Pyatt as saying.

He did not comment on the assumption that Crimea's merging with Russia's Southern federal district may mean extending sanctions against the whole Federal District.

US Ambassador to OSCE Daniel Baer, who also participated in the phone talks said that "Russia's attempt to redraw the borders" will continue to top the US-Russia relations agenda.

On July 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin abolished the Crimean federal district by making Crimea and Sevastopol part of Russia's Southern federal district. Under the president's decree, the District now consists of Adygea, Kalmykia, Crimea, Krasnodar Territory, Astrakhan region, Volgograd region, Rostov region and Sevastopol.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expressed its protest over such a decision, and stated that Crimea remains a Ukrainian territory. 

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 Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) speaks during a visit August, 18, 2015 Sevastopol, Crimea, Putin is on a three-days visit to Crimea, a disputed territory that Russia annexed from the Ukraine (Getty Images)

Crimea's merging with the Southern federal district, according to Moscow's plan, will allow the Kremlin to be more flexible when evading sanctions imposed over economic operations with the annexed peninsula, by manipulating the jurisdiction of business entities. The possibility of expanding the sanctions towards the whole Southern federal district is rather small.

Read also Why did they attach Crimea to Kalmykia?

Crimea peninsula was seized from Ukraine by Russia in February 2014. Ukraine's Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) officially declared February 20, 2014, a beginning of Russia's illegal occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol. Numerous world leaders strongly condemned the illegal annexation and launched a range of economic sanctions against Russia.

Despite the overall resentment, Moscow rejects the notion "occupation", naming its deeds instead "a renewal of historical justice".

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