MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Russian economy has fully adapted to the Western sanctions regime, making the time frame of their removal inconsequential to Russia, Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukaev said Wednesday.
"Of course Crimea is our land. It always has been and always will be ours. And the sanctions regime is something that we have completely adapted to as an economy," Ulyukaev said at a plenary session of the lower house of parliament.
The US State Department said in a statement on Tuesday that it did not recognize the referendum and vowed to maintain anti-Russia sanctions "as long as the occupation continues."
"In fact, whether it [the sanctions regime] disappears this year, in 5 years or 10 years does not matter," Ulyukaev stressed.
Russia has regularly denied playing a role in the clash between Ukrainian government forces and pro-independence militia. It maintains that the referendum on the Black Sea peninsula was held in accordance with democratic principles and reflected the will of the people.