Zelensky hosts forum on retaking Crimea

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hosted an online summit of dozens of world leaders to rally support for the return of the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.

The summit titled Crimea Platform, is Ukraine’s second effort to mobilize international support for taking back the Black Sea peninsula from Russia, reports dpa news agency.

“A place of paradise was turned into a depressive and dependent region – into a region of high fences, barbed wire and lawlessness,” Zelensky told the videoconference.

“Citizens from Crimea and in Crimea… I know that Crimea is with Ukraine and is waiting for us to come back. I want you to know: we will definitely come back.”

The President said that when Ukraine regains control over Crimea, it will fix “everything that the occupiers did on the peninsula” in various areas and restore justice, reports Ukrayinska Pravda.

According to Zelensky, “the degradation of Russia began with the seizure of Crimea, with the terror experienced by the Crimean Tatar people” and the repression of the Muslim community.

“In order to overcome terror, to restore predictability and security to our region, Europe, and the whole world, we must win the fight against Russian aggression. It is necessary to liberate Crimea from occupation. It will end there, where it all began. And this will be an effective resuscitation of the international legal order,” he added.

Addressing the summit virtually, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged that the conflict has become “a grinding war of attrition”, reports dpa news agency.

“This is a battle of wills and a battle of logistics. Therefore, we must sustain our support for Ukraine for the long-term, so that Ukraine prevails, as a sovereign independent nation,” he said.

German Cancellor Olaf Scholz said his country is preparing to ship more than 500 million euros ($499.3 million) in additional weapons, adding that Kiev is to receive three more IRIS-T air defence systems, a dozen armoured recovery vehicles and 20 pickup-mounted missile launchers.

While most of are to be delivered in 2023, Scholz said some will arrive “significantly earlier”.

“The international community will never accept Russia’s illegal, imperialist annexation of Ukrainian territory,” Scholz said to attendees at the summit, named the Crimea Platform.

Polish President Andrzej Duda, who travelled to meet Zelensky in person, said at the forum: “Crimea was and is as much a part of Ukraine as Gdansk or Lublin is a part of Poland, as Nice is a part of France, Cologne is a part of Germany and Rotterdam is a part of the Netherlands.”

He also called for the elimination of the Baltic Sea gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, Nord Stream 2, according to Polish news agency PAP.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country has good relations with Russia, also said Crimea clearly belonged to Ukraine.

Outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is planning to do to other parts of Ukraine – indeed all of Ukraine, what he has done to Crimea.”




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