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Kremlin calls Ukrainian MP’s proposal for Russia to take Crimea on lease 'absurd'

February 20, 13:34 UTC+3

The Kremlin spokesman said that was not even a matter of discussion

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Crimea, Sevastopol

Crimea, Sevastopol

© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. The idea that Russia could take Crimea on lease for some term is absurd as the Black Sea peninsula is a Russian region, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

The Russian presidential spokesman thus commented on a proposal of a plan reportedly prepared by Ukrainian MP Andrei Artemenko.

"How can Russia take its own region on lease? The very formulation of the [this] issue is quite absurd," Peskov said.

The Kremlin spokesman added that "in this case this is not even a matter of discussion and we don’t know anything about any plans." 

"Common understanding exists that there is no alternative to the Minsk accords, as well as the understanding that any political and diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian problem, if it is possible, can be achieved only on the basis of the Minsk accords," the Kremlin spokesman said.

As The New York Times reported on Sunday, earlier this month proposals were submitted to Michael Flynn as the US president’s national security adviser at that time on normalizing Russia-Ukraine relations and also on lifting anti-Russian sanctions.

As the paper reported, the document was worked out by Ukrainian lawmaker Andrei Artemenko. One of the plan’s points related to the status of Crimea, which had been reunited with Russia since 2014. The plan proposed holding a referendum in Ukraine on whether Crimea "should be leased out to Russia for a term of 50 to 100 years."

According to the paper, Artemenko confirmed to journalists that he had worked on the proposals.

After a coup d’etat in Kiev in February 2014, the authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol made a decision to hold a referendum on reunification with Russia.

The referendum, which took place on March 16, 2014, was attended by over 80% of the Black Sea peninsula’s eligible voters. As many as 96.7% of Crimean residents and 95.6% of Sevastopol residents voted for reuniting with Russia.

On March 18 that year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty on reintegrating the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol into Russia and on March 21 the document was ratified by both houses of Russia’s parliament. Despite the referendum’s convincing results, Kiev has refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

"Common understanding exists that there is no alternative to the Minsk accords, as well as the understanding that any political and diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian problem, if it is possible, can be achieved only on the basis of the Minsk accords," the Kremlin spokesman said.

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