On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that his country would never even consider a peace agreement to end the Russia-Ukraine war until they regain control of Crimea.
Zelenskyy made the comments in an interview on CNN.
“We cannot imagine Ukraine without Crimea. And while Crimea is under the Russian occupation, it means only one thing: War is not over yet,” the Ukrainian president said.
Russia took over Crimea in 2014. According to One America News, “When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, it followed the overthrow and exile of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. The vital Black Sea peninsula had been part of Ukraine since 1954, before Russia’s annexation, which was criticized by the U.S. and its allies. Despite Ukrainian efforts to reduce water supplies and undermine Moscow’s influence, Russia has maintained a tight hold on the peninsula in the years afterwards.”
At the time of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Zelenskyy was acting and performing as an entertainer. He did not become president of Ukraine until 2019.
Zelenskyy was asked by the CNN host if he believed there could be a “victory and peace” scenario that does not involve Ukraine retaking Crimea.
“There will not be victory there,” he responded.
Zelenskyy has repeatedly vowed that the conflict will not end without the liberation of Crimea. His overly confident attitude is likely bolstered by Ukraine’s surprising performance in the war — which is mostly due to the roughly $75 billion, weapons and other supplies sent to Ukraine by the United States throughout the 16-month conflict.
How much is US aid to Ukraine actually costing US taxpayers? Let's use $40 billion a year (which is the highest year). Most is spent in US, so it is really not $40 billion of lost revenue, since expenditures in US generate jobs and tax revenue (historically defense spending is… pic.twitter.com/qU0EFVsxbU
— Randy Mott (@randymot4) July 1, 2023
The Ukrainian president also spoke about the recent failed mutiny in Russia by the commander of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
“We see Putin’s reaction. It’s weak,” Zelenskyy claimed, referring to the attempted coup. “Firstly, we see he doesn’t control everything. Wagner is moving deep into Russia and taking certain regions shows how easy it is to do. Putin doesn’t control the situation in the region.”
“His whole army is in Ukraine,” he added. “We understand that Putin doesn’t control the regional policy, and he doesn’t control all those people in the region. So all that vertical of power he used to have just got crumbling down.”
Zelenskyy went on to discuss his frustration with rumors that he had a meeting with CIA Director William Burns in June.
“I was surprised to see the information in some media, both in the US and Ukrainian and European media,” he said. “My communication with the CIA chief should always be behind the scenes… because we discuss important things. We don’t have any secrets from CIA, because we have good relations and our intelligence services talk with each other.”
.@ZelenskyyUa: "Victory" for Ukraine means Crimea is again "part of Ukraine."
Adds, "We have good relations with the CIA chief and we are talking. I told him about all the important things related to the battlefield which we need." pic.twitter.com/Ayvw3Sqkc4
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) July 3, 2023