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US starts to understand it is useless to discuss Crimea with Russia — Russian lawmaker

May 13, 2015, 13:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW
After talks, Kerry said the US and EU will start lifting sanctions from Russia after the Minsk agreements are implemented in full, but did not even mention Crimea
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© ITAR-TASS/Zurab Dzhavakhadze

MOSCOW, May 13. /TASS/. Washington has not changed its position on Crimea’s reunification with Russia, but it realizes that it is useless to discuss this with Moscow, State Duma Committee on International Affairs chairman Alexey Pushkov told journalists on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, US State Secretary John Kerry met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Sochi. After talks, Kerry said the US and EU will start lifting sanctions from Russia after the Minsk agreements are implemented in full, but did not even mention Crimea.

"In my opinion, there are two layers in the position of the West and US. One layer deals with the situation in eastern Ukraine, and the second package of sanctions was approved, as the US explained it, in connection with their refusal to accept Russia’s policy towards eastern Ukraine," Pushkov said. "There is a second layer, though, which has become less important now, but still remains part of the US position. We are talking about sanctions, including individual, that were imposed in spring and connected with US and EU positions on Crimea’s reunification with Russia," the lawmaker stressed.

"I don’t think that the US reconsidered its position on Crimea. I only assume that they realize that Crimea is part of the Russian Federation and that it is absolutely useless to try to exert pressure on Russia on this matter," Pushkov said. "However, this does not mean that they abandoned their approach and that they are ready to consider lifting sanctions connected with Crimea," he warned.

The fact that US state secretary did no mention Crimea after talks with Putin and Lavrov on Tuesday means that the issue is no longer high on the agenda, the lawmaker noted. "There are more pressing issues, where the US is trying to influence Russia’s position or at least start talks that will allow them to try and influence Moscow," Pushkov said.

"They understand very well that putting Crimea on agenda is absolutely useless and they will not be able to influence Moscow. That’s why it is not a shift in the position, but rather an understanding of hopelessness of such talks, especially in the current conditions, when the situation is rather tense and all attention is focused on implementing the Minsk accords and developments in eastern Ukraine," the lawmaker concluded.

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