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Kremlin rules out handing back Crimea to Ukraine

Russia said on Tuesday it would not hand back Crimea to Ukraine, despite warnings by the United States and European Union that they will not drop sanctions over the Black Sea peninsula's annexation a year ago.

"There is no occupation of Crimea. Crimea is a region of the Russian Federation and of course the subject of our regions is not up for discussion," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a conference call.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday Washington would keep economic sanctions in place on Russia over the annexation as long as Crimea remains under Russian rule.

Kremlin rules out handing back Crimea to Ukraine