US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that Washington would never recognize the Crimea as part of the Russian Federation despite the region’s reintegration into Russian territory more than four years ago.
According to the head of US diplomacy, Russia would have acted in an unworthy way to the great nation when it decided to reclaim the peninsula previously controlled by Ukraine, choosing to “isolate itself from the international community.”
“Russia, through its invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and its attempted annexation of the Crimea, has sought to undermine a fundamental international principle shared by democratic states: that no country can change the borders of another by force,” Pompeo said at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“Together with allies, partners and the international community, the United States rejects this attempt to annex the Crimea and promises to maintain that policy until Ukraine’s territorial integrity is restored,” he added.
In statements subsequent to the Senate committee, the secretary said he was willing to work with Congress to impose new sanctions against Moscow, ensuring that there will be no relief on this issue until the Crimea is returned to Ukraine. On the other hand, he also underlined the current administration’s desire to restore relations with Russia, a nuclear superpower.
All that said, Trump has made it clear on numerous occasions that he is not in control of, or cannot control the statements made by various members of government, including his own cabinet and staff. He has said repeatedly that only his twitter account and similar verified methods such as recorded video, are his own administrations policy positions. He has claimed that he has at war with a ‘deep state’ which has its tentacles in even those closest to the administration.
It is unlikely that the Crimea will ever be “returned” to Ukraine as it is historically and ethnically a part of Russia. In the 2014 referendum, the overwhelming majority of people voted in favor to reunify with Russia. Crimea first became a part of Ukraine when it was transferred from Russia during the Soviet Union. This was not considered a major issue as Ukraine and Russia were united under the umbrella bloc of the Soviet Union. However, with the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, it has been a lingering problem as nearly the entirety of the population identify as Russian and not Ukrainian.