Mike Pompeo / REUTERS

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that Crimea, currently occupied by the Russian Federation, must come back to Ukraine.

Answering a question from David Rubenstein, President of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., on July 29 whether Pompeo thinks that Crimea is never going to be returned to Ukraine, he said: "The U.S. position is that is unacceptable. Crimea must come back."

Read alsoPompeo to Lavrov: Trump Administration doesn't recognize Russia's attempted annexation of Crimea

He also said that the U.S. is engaging with the new government in Ukraine. "They just finished up their parliamentary elections last week. New president – I hope that that will engender a more creative set of ideas about how to resolve this problem. The conflict in Ukraine is real. They're still fighting, not every day, but a lot. It's very real," he said.

As UNIAN reported earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press statement titled, "Crimea Declaration," on July 25, 2018, that the U.S. calls on Russia to end its occupation of Ukraine's Crimea. "The United States calls on Russia to respect the principles to which it has long claimed to adhere and to end its occupation of Crimea," he said then.

"Russia, through its 2014 invasion of Ukraine and its attempted annexation of Crimea, sought to undermine a bedrock international principle shared by democratic states: that no country can change the borders of another by force. The states of the world, including Russia, agreed to this principle in the United Nations Charter, pledging to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. This fundamental principle — which was reaffirmed in the Helsinki Final Act — constitutes one of the foundations upon which our shared security and safety rests," the Declaration said.

UNIAN memo. Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea in March 2014 after its troops had occupied the peninsula. An illegal referendum was held for Crimeans to decide on accession to Russia. De-facto Crimean authorities reported that allegedly 96.77% of the Crimean population had voted for joining Russia. On March 18, 2014, the so-called agreement on the accession of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to Russia was signed in the Kremlin. The West did not recognize the annexation in response to which sanctions against Russia were introduced. Ukraine's parliament voted to designate February 20, 2014, as the official date when the temporary occupation of Crimea began.