US President Donald Trump has accused Russia of taking Crimea by force in a series of tweets seeking to distance himself from allegations his team has links with Russia.
"Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?" the US president tweeted.
It comes as Russia insisted it did not intend to return Crimea to Ukraine after the White House said Trump expected the annexed Black Sea peninsula to be returned.
Moscow said an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to become part of Russia in a 2014 referendum.
"We don't give back our own territory. Crimea is territory belonging to the Russian Federation," Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told a news briefing on Wednesday.
His tweet about Crimea came amid a series of posts accusing US intelligence agencies of illegally giving information to the media over his team's alleged contact with Russian officials, Independent reported.