United States President Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday (Feb 15) called upon Russia to return the annexed Crimea to Ukraine. However the country led by Vladimir Putin fired back, saying it had no plans of returning its "territories."
The statement from Russia came after the Trump Administration and the president himself, in his tweet, said the previous Obama administration had gone "too soft" on Russia after it had annexed Crimea.
"Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?" Trump tweeted.
In response to America's call and Trump's tweet, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters: "We don't return our territories. Crimea is a territory of the Russian Federation."
Spokesperson of the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov also said that the matter of Crimea was not up for discussion with its foreign partners. "The theme of returning Crimea will not be discussed... Russia does not discuss its territorial integrity with foreign partners," Dmitry said.
Crimea, which became a part of Ukraine in 1954, was annexed by Russia in 2014. Russia said an overwhelming majority of Crimeans had voted to become a part of Russia in a referendum that year seeking protection from what the Kremlin cast as an illegal coup in Kiev.
Ukraine, however, said the referendum was just for show and was organised at a gunpoint after the Russian troops annexed the peninsula.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday said: "President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to de-escalate violence in Ukraine and return Crimea."
The Russian annexation of Crimea prompted the European Union and the US to impose sanctions on Russia, deteriorating West's relations between Russia for the worse since the Cold War.