Blinken: Zelenskyy should consider the will of Ukrainians in Crimea’s de-occupation
Antony Blinken (Photo:Olivier Matthys/Pool via REUTERS)
The decision to de-occupy Crimea should be made by Ukraine, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy "should be open" to the will of Ukrainians, said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Tagesschau reported on April 7.
"Ukraine is a democracy. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is responsible for leading the country," he said.
At the same time, Zelenskyy "must be open to the will of Ukrainians."
Blinken emphasized that the United States, along with many other countries, has pledged to support Ukraine and defend its territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence.
"This includes a counteroffensive that will likely begin in the coming weeks," he said.
Ukraine is ready to start negotiations on Crimea when the Ukrainian Armed Forces approach the administrative border of the peninsula, but Kyiv does not rule out "the way of liberation by the Ukrainian army," Deputy Head of the President’s Office Andriy Sybiha told the Financial Times.
Zelenskyy’s spokesperson, Sergii Nykyforov, cautioned that it is the President’s words themselves that matter. Zelenskyy reiterated on Feb. 24 that negotiations with Moscow are possible only after Russian occupation forces leave Ukrainian territory and stop bombing and killing Ukrainians.
In response to Russia’s attempted annexation of seized Ukrainian lands, Zelenskyy enacted on Sept. 30 the National Security and Defense Council's decision that it is impossible to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to a poll conducted by the Razumkov Center think tank in February-March 2023, 72% of Ukrainians do not consider negotiations with Russia to be an effective way to achieve peace.
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