Putin and Donald Trump will not discuss Crimea: Kremlin

Vastavam web: The Kremlin today said Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump can discuss “all other issues” except Crimea, the peninsula Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, at their highly anticipated first summit this month. Putin has “repeatedly stated and explained that Crimea cannot be and will never be on the agenda because it is an inseparable part of Russia,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. Peskov also said while Moscow and Washington “differ” on “many” issues, “political will has prevailed and understanding is growing.”

On Saturday, Trump refused to rule out accepting Russia’s annexation of Crimea when he meets Putin for a first one-on-one summit of the two leaders in Helsinki on July 16. Asked by reporters whether he was considering — as has been reported — dropping Washington’s opposition to the 2014 land grab, Trump said: “We’re going to have to see. “Accepting that Crimea is never to return to Ukrainian control would be a major concession to Russia, which is languishing under tough international trade sanctions over its actions.

In early 2014, with areas of Ukraine falling into chaos in the wake of a Kiev street revolt that ousted a pro-Russian president, Russian troops — in unmarked uniforms — seized Crimea. Ukraine, which is also facing a pro-Russian rebellion on its mainland in the Donbas region, furiously opposed this breach of its sovereignty — with stern Western backing.