Four years ago this week, Russia conducted an illegitimate, fabricated "referendum" in Ukraine in a vain attempt to legitimize its purported annexation of Ukrainian territory. The inhabitants of the Crimea were forced to go to vote under the supervision of heavily armed Russian soldiers. Russia's claims that the Ukrainians freely made their choice on this fictitious "referendum" never aroused confidence,said in a statement nawert.
Crimea is part of Ukraine and our sanctions related to Crimea remain in force until Russia regains control over the peninsula of Ukraine,she added.
According to the representative of the department, during his visit to the Crimea yesterday, President Vladimir Putin "repeated Russia’s false claims on Ukrainian territory."
The State Department described this as “open recognition of the Russian government’s neglect of the international order and the territorial integrity of sovereign countries.”
Nauert also said that the population of Crimea bears "enormous human costs", and the authorities "are persecuting everyone who opposes annexation."
According to her, “Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians, pro-Ukrainian activists, members of civil society and independent journalists” are subjected to “persecution and repression”.
Recall, the Crimea became Russian following a referendum held in 2014 year after the coup in Kiev. More than 95% of the inhabitants of the peninsula voted for reunification with the Russian Federation.