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9 September, 07:38 PM

Russian invaders must leave Crimea or prepare for the worst, says ex-Ukrainian FM

Invading Russian forces must leave the temporarily occupied Crimea or prepare for the worst, former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko told Radio NV on Sept. 6.

“In this regard, our military is taking very right steps and is following a very proper line in information warfare,” he said.

“Because that phrase ‘mommy, it’s time to get out of here’ is very apt: More and more people who moved to Crimea after its illegal occupation in 2014 are coming to understand that they have no business being there.”

Ohryzko also drew attention to the appeals of the Ukrainian authorities through various channels to those Russians who illegally entered the territory of the occupied Crimea to now leave the peninsula.

“You’ll be deported from here, regardless of whether you have any property, whether you have bought a land plot, whether you have registered or not, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

“You illegally crossed the Ukrainian border, so you’ll be deported, all together, all 800,000 or a million people. And we won’t have any problems with this.”

The former foreign minister emphasized the events that are already taking place in Crimea are very strong evidence that Crimea, like other occupied Ukrainian territories, will soon return to the Ukrainian state.

“And each of those who came there as an invader should either prepare for the worst or, while there is an opportunity, safely leave for the territory of Russia,” Ohryzko added.

Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Tamila Tasheva said on Sept. 7 that Russian citizens who had come to the Crimean peninsula after the start of its military occupation by Russia should return home to their own cities.

Earlier Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the President’s Office, warned Crimean residents about the need to prepare for evacuation to avoid casualties among the civilian population.

He announced that Ukraine was preparing for the “active de-occupation” of Ukraine’s Crimea, which has been under Russian military occupation since 2014.

Ukrainian national rail operator Ukrzaliznytsia has announced it is launching a program to evacuate Ukrainian citizens living in the temporarily occupied Crimea. Crimeans will be able to use trains from Zaporizhzhya, Kryvyi Rih and Odesa.

Several powerful blasts hit a Russian air base near the village of Novofedorivka in the west of Crimea on Aug. 9.

U.S. media later reported Ukraine was behind the attack, although Kyiv officially denies responsibility.

The next day, Ukraine’s General Staff announced the destruction of nine Russian planes as a result of the blasts.

Forbes later reported that between eight and 24 Russian aircraft were destroyed by the explosions.

Explosions were heard again in Russian-occupied Crimea a week later, on Aug. 16. In the morning, an ammunition depot exploded near the village of Azovske in the Dzhankoy district, and a fire broke out at an electricity transformer station in Dzhankoy itself.

In the following days, explosions were heard in Kerch, Sevastopol, Yevpatoria, Bakhchisarai, and several other cities, including near military facilities and airfields. The occupation authorities assure that the air defense system has been activated and claim to have downed drones.

The attack on the Belbek military airfield near Sevastopol was one of the most significant ones.

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