WASHINGTON, December 7. / TASS /. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky have discussed over the phone the need for a peaceful diplomatic settlement of the Donbass conflict, the press service of the US Department of State said.
"The two agreed on the need for a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to the conflict in the Donbas and the full restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty over its internationally recognized borders, including Crimea," the statement reads. As the US Department of State noted, ahead of President Biden’s discussion with President Putin, Blinken "reiterated the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity."
After the Western-backed February 2014 coup in Ukraine, Crimea and Sevastopol held a referendum, in which 96.7% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deal on March 18, 2014, which the Federation Council (upper house of the Russian parliament) ratified on March 21, 2014. Despite the convincing results of the referendum, Kiev has refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.
Previously, the West and Ukraine frequently echoed an allegedly looming Russian invasion of Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov castigated these statements as an empty and groundless escalation of tension, emphasizing that Russia posed no threat to anyone. At the same time, the Kremlin press secretary did not exclude some possible provocations to justify such claims and warned that the attempts to resolve the Ukrainian conflict by force would carry extremely serious consequences.
The Kremlin spokesman also assured that Russia was making every effort to help Ukraine resolve the conflict in Donbass in line with the Normandy format and the Minsk agreements.