US weapons will help Ukraine seize back Russian-occupied territory, including Crimea and Donbas, the Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told CNN's Matthew Chance in an exclusive interview in Brussels.
"We are going to liberate all our territories, all of it all, including Crimea," he said.
"Crimea is a strategic objective for Ukraine because it's Ukrainian territory," Reznikov added. "But we will move step by step."
The defense minister said the first step would be stabilization of the situation on the ground to prevent further losses against Russian forces. The second stage, he said, is to push Russian forces back to their positions before the invasion on February 24.
Only in the 3rd stage, he told CNN, would there be discussions with Ukraine's partners on "how to liberate territories, including Crimea," Reznikov said. Ukraine officials say they will not use the weapons to attack the Russian Federation, however, Ukraine does not consider Crimea to be Russian territory.
When asked if attempting to recapture Crimea by military means would further provoke Russia -- which considers Crimea to be part of the Russian Federation -- Reznikov said that was not a consideration.
"It doesn't matter. Because they [Russians] will see that in Kherson, they will see it in Zaporizhzhia, they will also see it in Mariupol…. but these are Ukrainian lands, and Crimea is also Ukrainian land, no matter what," he told CNN.
The headline on this post has been updated.