update on russian reaction

Russia tells White House it will not return Crimea to Ukraine
Andrew Osborn, Maria Tsvetkova, Alessandra Prentice, Russia, Feb 15 2017

MOSCOW – Russia said on Wednesday it would not hand back Crimea to Ukraine or discuss the matter with foreign partners after the White House said Pres Trump expected the annexed Black Sea peninsula to be returned. Russian Foreign Ministry spox Maria Zakharova told a presser on Wednesday:

We don’t give back our own territory. Crimea is territory belonging to the Russian Federation.

The 2014 annexation prompted the United States and the European Union to impose Sean Spicer said on Tuesday that Trump expected and wanted to get along with Russia, but was expecting Moscow to hand Crimea back. Dmitri Peskov said Pres Putin had already explained why Crimeans had turned to Russia. Peskov told a conference call with reporters:

The theme of returning Crimea will not be discussed. Russia does not discuss its territorial integrity with foreign partners.

Pres Trump did not raise the Crimean issue in a Jan 28 phone call with Putin, Peskov noted, saying the Kremlin would try to make contacts with the Trump administration to try to improve ties, which he said were in “a lamentable state.” Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, told MPs any talk of Crimea’s status amounted to a challenge to Russia’s territorial integrity. Volodin, a close Putin ally, told Interfax that Pres Trump had promised in his election campaign to work to improve relations with Russia. He said:

Let’s wait for some first-hand words from the Pindo president. When people get elected by voters, it’s not merely for warm words and the ability to speak, but for concrete promises, that will be fulfilled.

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