SIMFEROPOL, Crimea, Sept. 17 (UPI) — The United States announced that it will not honor the results of the Russian parliamentary elections planned in Crimea.
U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby condemned the elections planned for Sunday, which will be the first time Crimea will elect members of the lower house of parliament since it was annexed by Russia in 2014, according to Al Masdar News.
“The United States does not recognize the legitimacy, and will not recognize the outcome, of the Russian Duma elections planned for Russian-occupied Crimea on September 18th,” he said. “Our position on Crimea is clear: the peninsula remains an integral part of Ukraine. Crimea-related sanctions against Russia will remain until Russia returns control of Crimea to Ukraine.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin called the elections “completely illegitimate” and said he was concerned about the “extreme” number of Russian troops in Crimea, according to Voice of America.
A group of unidentified anti-Russian protesters launched fireworks at the Russian embassy in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Saturday.
“Russian pigs, you are not welcome here. Fireworks today, Grads [cluster-fired rockets] tomorrow,” a sign held by the protestors read.
Kirby also expressed concern about “the humanitarian situation” in Crimea, citing the status of the ethnic Tatar community, and reports of missing persons and human rights abuses throughout the area.