Ukraine must liberate annexed Crimea to end its war with Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday.
“This Russian war against Ukraine and against all of free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea — its liberation,” Zelensky said in his nightly address.
“Today it is impossible to say when this will happen. But we are constantly adding the necessary components to the formula for the liberation of Crimea.
“… Crimea is Ukrainian, and we will never give it up.”
Russia's occupation of Crimea threatens global security, he added.
“The presence of Russian occupiers in Crimea is a threat to the entire Europe and to global stability. (…) There will be no stable and lasting peace in many countries on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea as long as Russia is able to use our peninsula as its military base,” Zelensky said.
The Ukrainian president went on to recall the historical significance of the peninsula for Ukrainians, saying: “Our state is home to peoples whose national cultures and aspirations were formed in Crimea. Therefore, when we work for the liberation of the peninsula, we are fighting for the restoration of the territorial integrity of our state, and for the return of home to the indigenous peoples of Ukraine.”
On Tuesday, a series of explosions were reported in the area of a Russian air base in Crimea. There has been no word from the Ukrainian side about any attack in the area. Ukraine is not known to have struck the territory of Crimea since the Russian invasion began.
Russia invaded and subsequently annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.