MOSCOW, February 13. /TASS/. Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky stated that Crimea’s accession to Russia is closed and ruled out the return of the peninsula to Ukraine in exchange for the abolishment of the US sanctions.
"The issue of Crimea’s territorial sovereignty is closed. The return of the peninsula to Ukraine in exchange for the abolishment of the US’ anti-Russian sanctions is out of the question," Slutsky told journalists on Wednesday, commenting on the statements made by US Deputy Representative to the UN Jonathan Cohen.
On Tuesday at a session of the UN Security Council on the situation in Ukraine, Cohen stated that the US intends to preserve the anti-Russian sanctions until Ukraine’s authorities receive control over Donbass and Crimea.
Slutsky noted in response that "Crimea is unnegotiable, and no one took it from anyone." "In 2014, the Crimeans voluntarily decided to return to their ancestral territory - Russia. We could not reject them then, nor will betray them now," the committee chairman concluded.
On February 12, 2015, the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was signed in Crimea. It was designed to serve as the roadmap for a peaceful settlement in Donbass, as it both stipulated solution of security issues and created a framework for the political process to provide a special self-governance status within Ukraine to the region. However, the plan has remained unfulfilled since then, as the Ukrainian side fully rejected the implementation of the political items on the agenda, referring to the lack of regulation of security issues.
Following a coup d’etat in Kiev in February 2014, the Crimean and Sevastopol authorities decided to hold a referendum on Crimea’s reintegration with Russia. More than 80% people with the voting right took part in the vote that was held on March 16, 2014. The reunification with Russia was backed by 96.7% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol residents. On March 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement on the accession of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation, and on March 21 the document was ratified by the Federal Assembly. Despite the referendum’s convincing results, Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.