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Top lawmaker rules out change in Russia’s stance on Crimea

According to Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko, Crimea and Sevastopol have become full-fledged territorial entities of the Russian Federation

SINGAPORE, March 16. /TASS/. Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Valentina Matviyenko has said that a change in Russia’s position on Crimea is out of the question.

"There is no question of changing Russia’s stance or returning Crimea somewhere. For us the will of the people (of Crimea) is the main thing, and this is irreversible. Crimea and Sevastopol have become full-fledged territorial entities of the Russian Federation," the senator said on Wednesday when asked to comment on the statement of the U.S. Department of State on lifting anti-Russian sanctions in the event of returning Crimea to Ukraine.

She dismissed such statements as short-sighted and politically flawed.

"The results of the referendum are irreversible, whoever comments on them and how," Matviyenko said. She recalled that the referendum had been held "in strict compliance with international law." "The will of the people is above all," she said.

Matviyenko noted that, despite all the obstacles in the way of Crimea’s integration with Russia created by the Ukrainian authorities, the peninsula’s residents "are stoically enduring all difficulties." "Residents of Crimea and Sevastopol cannot be forced into submission by such restrictions. They accept the temporary difficulties that exist with understanding, and for its part Russia is doing everything possible to mitigate the effects of such actions of the authorities in Kiev (the food and energy blockade)," Matviyenko said.

She added that the political pressure was being exerted on Crimea. "We see the rumors, political speculations that are being spread. They are trying to use the factor of Crimea’s national minorities playing the card of the Crimean Tatars," the speaker said.

US State Department spokesperson John Kirby earlier again said that the United States did not recognize the referendum on Crimea’s reunification with Russia of March 16, 2014.

"We will not accept the redrawing of borders by force in the 21st century. Sanctions related to Crimea will remain in place as long as the occupation continues," he said in a statement released on Tuesday.

On March 11, 2014, the Supreme Council of Crimea and Sevastopol city council adopted a declaration on independence of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. On March 16, the Black Sea peninsula’s residents overwhelmingly voted for Crimea’s reunification with Russia in a referendum. On March 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Crimea signed a treaty to incorporate the peninsula into Russia. Ukraine, the United States and the European Union refused to recognize Crimea’s independence and its reunification with Russia.