By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA (AA) - The US Mission to the UN (USUN) urged Russia to "immediately" stop its violations in the occupied Crimea and return full control to Ukraine.
"The United States calls on Russia to immediately end its abuses in occupied Crimea, release all Ukrainians unjustly imprisoned for peaceful opposition, and return full control of the peninsula to Ukraine," the USUN said on Twitter late Thursday.
The mission voiced support for the people of Crimea, holding Russia responsible for severe human rights abuses.
"The Russian occupation has severely undermined the fundamental freedoms of expression, association, religion or belief, and peaceful assembly, forcing many to flee. We stand with the people of Crimea, and civil society and human rights defenders working to protect these rights," it said in a separate tweet.
"The U.S. is proud to co-sponsor and vote in favor of a resolution on the human rights situation in Crimea. The situation there remains dire as Russian occupation authorities use force and intimidation to suppress dissent and opposition," the mission concluded.
Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum.
Turkey, as well as the UN General Assembly, viewed the annexation as illegal.
Ukraine has also blamed Russia for separatist violence in eastern Ukraine near the border with Russia.