* Russia says U.S. needs to accept Crimea annexation
* West, Russia relations at Cold War-era lows over move
* Western powers introduced sanctions against Moscow
By Alexei Anishchuk
MOSCOW, April 3 U.S. policymakers need to calm
down, maybe do some yoga and accept that Crimea is now part of
Russia, a senior Russian diplomat said on Thursday in unusually
caustic remarks directed at Moscow's former Cold War-era
Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region last month
has deepened the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War ended
two decades ago. The West has imposed sanctions on officials and
businessmen believed to be close to President Vladimir Putin.
Many of those blacklisted have mocked the sanctions, wearing
them as a badge of honour, but they have also rankled Moscow,
with officials warning the West was only doing damage to itself.
"What can one advise our U.S. colleagues to do? Spend more
time in the open, practice yoga, stick to food-combining diets,
maybe watch some comedy sketch shows on TV," Deputy Foreign
Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax news agency.
"This would be better than winding oneself up and winding up
others, knowing that the ship has already sailed ... Tantrums,
weeping and hysteria won't help."
His remarks followed disclosure by U.S. officials that
Washington had added space agency NASA to a list of U.S.
entities banned from contacting Russian government envoys, a
largely symbolic gesture to raise pressure on Russia.
Ryabkov said such a freeze in bilateral contacts had caused
"ridiculous situations" when meetings between meteorologists
from both countries had to be cancelled.
"Oh well, that's the Americans' choice," he said.
"One can see that the U.S. leadership is 'fixated', and they
fail to accept the situation which has been shaped largely by
the line (pursued) by the United States and their European
allies to bring anti-Russian forces into power in Ukraine."
A referendum held in Crimea last month after Russian troops
seized control of the Russian-majority region overwhelmingly
backed union with Russia, but was denounced by Washington and
the European Union as a sham amounting to a land grab. The vote
opened the way for annexation within a week.
Russia intervened in Crimea after the toppling of Ukrainian
President Viktor Yanukovich following deadly clashes between
riot police and protesters trying to overturn his decision to
spurn a trade and cooperation deal with the EU in favour of
cultivating closer relations with old Soviet master Moscow.
Russia accused the West of orchestrating the "coup" against
Yanukovich, and some analysts say the Crimea annexation was
Putin's punishment of the West for ignoring Moscow's interest in
the former Soviet republic that it considers to be its backyard.
The Kremlin has also demanded NATO explain its activities in
eastern Europe, not far from old Soviet borders, after the
Western military alliance pledged to improve defences for its
eastern members following Russia's takeover of Crimea.
(Editing by Mark Heinrich)