MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Crimea seceded from Ukraine and became a part of Russia in March 2014, following a referendum in which 96 percent of those who voted supported the move.
"We note with regret that [Dutch Foreign Minister Bert] Koenders by inertia continues to believe that EU's illegitimate — from the point of view of international law — sanctions regime can change the Russian leadership's decision regarding Crimea. Once again we reiterate that Crimea and Sevastopol are integral parts of the Russian Federation, and the methods of political and economic pressure stubbornly used by the European Union are absolutely futile and unable to change this fact," the ministry said in a statement.
The Ukrainian authorities have completely halted air, rail, bus and freight connections with Crimea, as well as water, food and electricity supplies. A trade embargo came into force in mid-January, while financial, maritime and network blockades have also been announced.