"The United States does not recognize the legitimacy of the Russian Supreme Court's ruling to uphold the ban of Crimean Tatars' self-governing body, the Mejlis. We reject the characterization of the Mejlis as an 'extremist' organization and condemn the suspension of this democratic institution," the statement reads.
It is noted that the decision is particularly troubling given Russia's systematic and unjust mistreatment of Crimean Tatars.
"Russia continues to subject Crimean Tatars to arbitrary arrests, abductions, politically motivated prosecutions, restrictions on freedom of movement, and police raids on their homes and mosques," Toner said in the statement.
"We call on Russia to cease these unacceptable practices immediately," he emphasized.
The deputy department spokesperson also said that the U.S. does not recognize Russia's attempted annexation of Crimea.
"We reiterate our call on Russia to return control of the peninsula to Ukraine," the statement read.
Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Moscow returns control over Crimea to Ukraine, it is said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, on April 26, the "Supreme Court" of the Russian-annexed territory of Crimea recognized the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people an extremist organization and banned its activities.
The Russian Ministry of Justice included the Mejlis in the list of civil and religious organizations, activities of which are suspended due to extremism.
Read alsoMejlis ban: Chubarov says Russia to be sued in ECHROn September 29, Russia's Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea was lawful.