MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. Russia did not annex Crimea, the peninsula joined Russia legally, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on US President Joe Biden’s remark that Washington will never recognize Crimea as Russia.
"It is indeed impossible to recognize the annexation of Crimea, and nobody is talking about the annexation of Crimea, because it never happened," Peskov said, underscoring that "what happened was reunification of Crimea and Russia, in rather strict compliance with all norms of international law."
Peskov recalled that the Crimean lawmaking body made the decision in compliance with the status of Crimea, while the peninsula was still in Ukraine.
"A perfectly clear and flawless set of legal actions was undertaken here, therefore no annexation took place, and there is no need to recognize it ['annexation']. One must only recognize the fact of reunification of Crimea and Russia and the fact that Crimea has had the status of a Russian region for quite some time, thank God," the spokesman said.
When asked whether Biden raised the issue of Crimea during the phone call with Vladimir Putin on January 26, Peskov answered in the negative.
In March 2014, following the coup d’etat in Ukraine, the Supreme Council of Crimea and the Sevastopol City Council adopted a declaration of independence of the republic. On March 16, a referendum took place, with about 96% of voters in Crimea and Sevastopol backing reunification with Russia. On March 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the agreements on accession of the republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to Russia. Ukraine would not recognize the will of the Crimean people.