By Agence France-Presse
The US government said Wednesday it will not accept Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, as President Donald Trump continues to faced recriminations over his summit with Vladimir Putin.
“In concert with allies, partners, and the international community, the United States rejects Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea and pledges to maintain this policy until Ukraine’s territorial integrity is restored,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
“The United States reaffirms as policy its refusal to recognize the Kremlin’s claims of sovereignty over territory seized by force in contravention of international law.”
The declaration was released just one hour before Pompeo testifies to Congress about US-Russia ties following Trump’s controversial closed-door summit with Putin, during which critics said he appeared pliant towards the Russia president.
Washington accused Putin of orchestrating a takeover of the Crimean peninsula in early 2014 when Russian military forces occupied government buildings.
Crimean authorities held a referendum that March, widely criticized by western powers, on whether Crimea should accede to Russia, and an accession treaty was signed March 18.
Ukraine and much of the international community condemned the move as a violation of international law.
Pompeo, calling on Russia to “end its occupation of Crimea,” said Moscow had sought to “undermine a bedrock international principle” shared by democratic states, that no country can change the borders of another by force.
“Russia has acted in a manner unworthy of a great nation and has chosen to isolate itself from the international community.”