“In people’s hearts and minds, Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia,” Putin said.
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Secretary of State John Kerry in a town hall meeting with college students on Tuesday said the interim government in Kiev is willing to work on full representation in the country and full protection of minority rights, churches and the Russian language, but that should be done “through the legitimate legislative process, not at the butt of a rifle.”

“The interim government in Kiev – Prime Minister [Arseny] Yatsenyuk has publicly stated – and I’ve seen the plan – that they are completely prepared to work on full representation in the country, full protection of minority rights, full protection of churches, [and] full protection of the Russian language. All of those things can happen, but they ought to happen through the legitimate legislative process, not at the butt of a rifle,” Kerry said.