“Today, as Russia’s occupation of Crimea enters its third year, we reaffirm our commitment to a united, sovereign Ukraine. The United States does not recognize Russia’s "referendum” of March 16, 2014 or its attempted annexation of Crimea, which violates international law”, reads the statement by John Kirby, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson at the Bureau of Public Affairs.
The State Department reiterated it remains deeply concerned by the situation in Russian-occupied Crimea, “where occupation “authorities” suppress dissent and where ethnic and religious minorities - especially Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians - face serious and ongoing repression. Nongovernmental organizations and independent media are still being silenced or driven out, and international observers are still denied access to the peninsula”.
Kirby confirmed that Washington 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. We again call on Russia to end that occupation and return Crimea to Ukraine”, the statement says.
Previously, Victoria Nuland, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said that Russia's withdrawal from Syria should not affect the West-imposed sanctions against Russia for its ongoing military aggression in eastern Ukraine.