KYIV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowed today to restore Ukrainian rule over Russia-annexed Crimea, a move that he said would help re-establish “world law and order”.
He told an international conference on Crimea that regaining control of the peninsula, seized and annexed by Russia in 2014 in a move not recognised by most other countries, would be the “biggest anti-war step.”
“It all began with Crimea, and it will end with Crimea,” Zelenskiy said in an opening address to the Crimea Platform, a forum that seeks to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and end Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
“And this is true, and I believe in it 100%, that to overcome terror, to return guarantees and security to our region, to Europe, to the whole world, it is necessary to gain victory in the fight against Russian aggression.”
“It is necessary to liberate Crimea from occupation,” he said.
“This will be the resuscitation of world law and order.” Zelenskiy said representatives of about 60 states and international organisations were taking part in the summit, including about 40 presidents and prime ministers. Almost all were participating online but Polish President Andrzei Duda attended during a visit to Kyiv.
Russia shows no sign of abandoning Crimea, home to its Black Sea fleet, and has used the peninsula as a platform to launch missile strikes on Ukrainian targets.
“Despite (Russian) threats, Ukraine is strong enough to see the prospects for Ukrainian Crimea,” Zelenskiy said. “Ukraine’s restoration of control over the Crimea peninsula will be an historic anti-war step in Europe restoring security and justice.” He said Russia had turned Crimea into “an ecological disaster zone and a military springboard for aggression”, using it to fire 750 cruise missiles at “cities and communities”.
Russia was unable to verify how many missiles have been launched from Crimea during the conflict.