The idea that Russia could take Crimea on lease for some term is absurd as the Black Sea peninsula is a Russian region, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Feb. 20.
The Russian presidential spokesman thus commented on media reports about a plan of normalizing Russia-Ukraine relations proposed by Ukrainian MP from the Radical Party Andrei Artemenko.
"How can Russia take its own region on lease? The very formulation of the [this] issue is quite absurd," Peskov said.
Commenting on the corresponding media report, the Kremlin spokesman added that "in this case, there is no subject matter for discussion and we don’t know anything about any plans [for settlement]."
"Common understanding exists that there is no alternative to the Minsk accords, as well as the understanding that any political and diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian problem, if it is possible, can be achieved only on the basis of the Minsk accords," the Kremlin spokesman said.
As The New York Times reported on its website on Feb. 20, earlier this month proposals were submitted to Michael Flynn as the U.S. president’s national security adviser at that time on normalizing Russia-Ukraine relations and also on lifting anti-Russian sanctions. As the paper reported, the document was worked out by Ukrainian lawmaker Andrei Artemenko.
One of the plan’s points related to the status of Crimea, which had been reunited with Russia since 2014. The plan proposed holding a referendum in Ukraine on whether Crimea "should be leased out to Russia for a term of 50 to 100 years."