Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a celebration to mark the first anniversary of Crimea's incorporation into Russia, in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2015. (Xinhua Photo)
MOSCOW, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Russia will not consider any deal on Crimea in exchange for the relaxation of Western sanctions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.
His remarks came on the day of the third anniversary of a referendum held in Crimea, which led to the incorporation of the Black Sea peninsula with Russia.
Kiev, Washington and their allies insist that Crimea remains part of Ukraine and it was illegally annexed by Russia. Western countries introduced economic sanctions against Russia in 2014 over Crimea and its alleged role in the conflicts in eastern Ukraine.
"Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine," U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council last month.
When asked Thursday whether Moscow will reach any deal on Crimea with the United States or conduct a second referendum, Peskov told reporters that such a move is "off the table."