12:33 Sep. 3, 2016
Only the US has influence on Kyiv, Kremlin says
The ownership of the annexed Crimea (what country rightfully owns Crimea) as well as the return to the old system are out of the question, Russian president Vladimir Putin said during the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum, on September 3.
"The people of Crimea made their decision and voted. The question is historically closed." Interfax quoted Putin as saying.
"There is no way of returning to the previous system. No way", the president added.
However, Putin said he is striving to fulfil the Minsk agreements.
"I'll tell you one thing: we believe it is necessary to fulfil the Minsk agreement to its fullest extent, with no restrictions and substitution of concepts, and we are sincerely committed to doing so," the Russian leader added.
Yet, Putin said that Russia would not be able to solve the issue alone.
The Normandy format participants, and the United States should also take part in implementing the Minsk agreements, "because only the US has real impact on the current Kyiv authorities", he said.
The US recently strengthened sanctions against Russia. The US Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on September 1 extended sanctions against Russian companies of President Vladimir Putin's allies engaged in the construction of the Kerch Bridge in Russian annexed Crimea.
Crimea 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".