Germany won't recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea, 1 year after referendum

Germany says it won't recognize Russia's annexation of Crimean Peninsula, one year after a referendum that Ukraine said was illegitimate.

The issue of Crimea's status has taken a back seat in recent efforts to broker a peace deal for eastern Ukraine, where government forces are battling separatists backed by Russia.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been a key figure in those talks.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert says Germany supports Ukraine "within its internationally recognized border" and accused Moscow of threatening peace in Europe.

Seibert told reporters in Berlin on Monday that Germany is also concerned about the worsening human rights situation in Crimea, where non-Russian minorities have been targeted.

He spoke shortly before Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko was due to meet with Merkel.