Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pledged that Kiev’s forces will retake Russian-held Crimea as the leader and his top officials seek to build international support for the full restoration of the country’s pre-2014 borders and the rollback of all Russian gains.

Zelenskyy spoke Tuesday at the second edition of the Crimea Platform, an online gathering of 60 nations and international organizations. Speakers included Polish President Andrzej Duda – who was present in person with Zelensky; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; and Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“Ukraine is strong enough and powerful enough to see a perspective for Ukrainian Crimea,” said Zelenskyy. “We will bring freedom to Ukrainian citizens in Crimea, and we will restore justice to all those who suffered repression and abuse by the Russian occupiers.”

“I know that Crimea belongs to Ukraine and is waiting for our return. I want you all to know that we will be returning. We must win the fight against Russian aggression. That is why we must liberate Crimea from occupation.

“It started with Crimea, it will end with Crimea,” Zelenskyy said of Ukraine’s war with Russia, citing imprisoned Crimean activist Nariman Dzhelyal.

Volodymyr Zelenskyj speaks in Kyiv in August
Above: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a joint news conference with his Polish counterpart in Kyiv August 23, 2022 amid Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. Zelenskyi promised at the conference that the war with Russia in Crimea would end.

Ukrainian leaders have vowed to retake the Crimean peninsula – which was occupied and annexed by Russia after the pro-Western Maidan revolution in 2014 – and all areas seized by Russian forces in the eastern Donbass region, where heavy fighting continues.

Crimea served as the launch pad for Russia’s latest invasion, which began on February 24. Troops arriving from the peninsula struck north and north-east, capturing parts of southern Ukraine, including key coastal towns and ports. Ukrainian troops are now preparing for a counter-offensive to recapture cities like Kherson and Melitopol.

Crimea has come under repeated attacks from Ukraine in recent weeks, with long-range weapons and drones targeting air bases, transport hubs, logistics depots and command centers. The attacks have sparked panic among Russians in Crimea and boosted Ukrainian confidence.

“Since February 24, they have fired 750 different cruise missiles at our cities from occupied Crimea,” Zelenskyy said, citing the importance of the peninsula to the Russian war effort.

The Crimean city of Sevastopol is also home to the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which has enforced a blockade of the Black Sea and choked off vital grain supplies.

“Restoring Ukraine’s control over Crimea will be a historic anti-war move in Europe,” said Zelenskyy, adding that he was “sure” that Crimea, like the rest of Ukraine, will one day become part of the European Union – a key Ukrainian strategic goal.

news week has asked the Russian Foreign Ministry for an opinion. Ukrainian Zelenskyy vows Russia’s war will ‘end in Crimea’

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