Kiev – Ukraine has not changed its plans to return the territories occupied by Russia, including the Crimea.
“Ukraine will choose the way to return Crimea, using political and military means,” Tamila Tasheva, the Ukrainian president’s envoy to Crimea, told Politico.
To minimize Ukrainian military losses, and minimize threats to civilians living in the occupied territories, as well as the destruction of civilian infrastructure, Ukraine plans to give Russia a choice on how to leave Crimea. “If they do not agree to leave voluntarily, Ukraine will continue to liberate its territory by military means,” Tasheva added.
Her comments come after Andrei Sepiha, deputy chief of the office of the president, was interviewed by financial times In it, he said that Ukraine might be willing to discuss the future of Crimea with Moscow if Kiev succeeded in achieving its strategic goals on the battlefield.
“We are ready to open [a] A diplomatic page to discuss this issue,” Sepiha said in the interview, referring to the long-planned counter-attack by Kiev. “This does not mean that we rule out the path of liberation. [of Crimea] with our army.”
Sepha’s remarks were made as Ukraine expressed interest in negotiations with Russia for the first time since it formally ruled out peace talks with Vladimir Putin last fall.
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine adopted a legal resolution on September 30 last year declaring that any negotiations with Putin are impossible in light of Russia’s attempt to annex Ukrainian territories in Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk and Luhansk.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also reinforced Ukraine’s goal of liberating all of its territories, including Crimea, in the 10-step peace formula he presented at the G-20 summit. “The president has not changed his position,” Ihor Zovkva, deputy chief of the president’s office, told Politico.
Until the 2022 invasion, political and diplomatic talks were seen by Ukraine as the main way to return Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, to Kiev’s control.
Things changed after the full-scale invasion, Tasheva said.
After what we saw in Bucha, Mariupol, Izyum, Russia has closed off any possibility of negotiations. Also, the Kremlin has claimed many times that it will not have any contacts about the future of Crimea,” Tasheva said.
She added that the Ukrainian authorities have said several times that their position on the status of Crimea cannot be the subject of discussion – it is Ukrainian territory.
Moreover, Ukrainian officials are working on a strategy on how to deal with hundreds of collaborators in Crimea after the occupation ends, Oleksey Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council, He said in a Facebook post.
His planned proposals include the forcible transfer of all Russian citizens who moved to Crimea after 2014, and the return of stolen property to Ukrainians.
“Only the president decides how to return Crimea. But we are already thinking about ways how to reintegrate it in the best way,” Danilov told Politico.
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