02:57 GMT +316 October 2019
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    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko at the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany

    Poroshenko After Talks With Pence: Crimea's Issue Remains Top Priority for US

    © Sputnik / Nicolay Lazarenko
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    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Saturday at the Munich Security Conference after talks with US Vice President Mike Pence that the US is committed to helping Ukraine "return" Crimea after the region rejoined Russia in 2014 after a referendum.

    MUNICH (Sputnik) — On February 14, the White House spokesman said that US President Donald Trump expects Russia to "return Crimea" to Ukraine. Later, Trump reaffirmed this stance, suggesting that Obama was "too soft" on Russia.

    "The United States reiterated their support to Ukraine. The new US administration considers Ukraine as one of its top priorities. Crimea's issue and a decisive struggle for its return remain a priority for the United States," Poroshenko told reporters.

    Poroshenko also said that he had discussed coordination of efforts to settle the ongoing conflict in the eastern part of the country with US Vice President Mike Pence during their Saturday meeting.

    "We have focused on coordination of our efforts and plans of the processes ongoing in the east of our country, as well as on coordination of efforts to take effective steps and to form the Ukrainian agenda on negotiations with Russia," Poroshenko told reporters after a meeting with Pence on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, as broadcast by the 112.Ukraina television channel.

    "US Vice President Michael Pence confirmed US full support of Ukraine at the meeting with me today. The US is in close contact with the Ukrainian authorities on the matter," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.

    US Vice President Pence said earlier the United States would continue to hold Russia accountable for the implementation of Minsk accords on Ukraine, even as Moscow and Washington search for new common ground.

    During the election campaign Trump claimed he would "consider" recognizing Crimea as part of Russia following the referendum in the peninsula, adding that the Crimeans wanted to live in Russia.

    Commenting on the White House statement, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia does not intend to return Crimea to Kiev as it is Russian territory. The Kremlin said that Russia does not discuss issues related to its territory with foreign partners.

    Crimea rejoined Russia after a 2014 referendum, when almost 97 percent of the region's population voted for the reunification. Sevastopol, which has a federal city status, supported the move by 95.6 percent of votes.


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