U.S. calls Putin visit to Crimea provocative, unnecessary EU "regretted" the presence of Mr Putin at a military parade in Crimea's port of Sevastopol. //
The United States criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Crimea on Friday as provocative and repeated the U.S. rejection of Moscow's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula.
"This trip is provocative and unnecessary. Crimea belongs to Ukraine and we don't recognize, of course, the illegal and illegitimate steps by Russia in that regard," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily briefing.
The United States has not seen a withdrawal of Russian forces from its border with Ukraine announced by Putin earlier this week, the spokeswoman said, urging Moscow to calm tensions.
"We want Russia to take de-escalatory steps. We believe they can influence the actions of separatists on the ground. There is more they can do. And, obviously, President Putin's trip to Crimea is not in the direction we are looking for," she said.
US National Security Council spokeswoman Laura Magnuson said the visit "only served to fuel tension".
Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said the EU "regretted" the presence of Mr Putin at a military parade in Crimea's port of Sevastopol.
"An important day in our shared history, dedicated to honouring the enormous sacrifices and giving remembrance to the millions of dead in the Second World War, should not have been instrumentalised to give visibility to the illegal annexation of Crimea," she said.