Ukraine will not be taking Crimea back by force, say top Ukrainian military officials
Ukraine will not use force to win back Crimea, which Russia invaded and occupied in 2014, Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi and Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov said during a political talk show on Ukrainian television on Feb. 4.
At the same time, the officials insisted that Ukraine will liberate both Crimea and the occupied territories of the Donbas region.
“We will do our best to make sure Crimea and Russian-occupied Donbas come home,” said Danilov, adding that the Ukrainian government has devised a strategy to achieve that – but without a military operation, clarified Zaluzhnyi
Ukraine’s top general stated that a military operation in Crimea had never been on the table, and the Ukrainian government had never given such orders.
Danilov also said that, unlike Moscow, Kyiv would not commit to an operation which could lead to civilian casualties.
“We are a responsible country and we cannot let that happen,” explained Danilov.
“If someone thinks they can blow up residential buildings in Kashirka (referring to an attack in Russia in 1999) and do whatever they want with their people, well, we are not like that.”
Russia occupied Crimea in May 2014, with iInternational organizations decrying Crimea forced annexation as illegal and condemning Russia’s actions. Russia called the occupation “returning Crimea to the Fatherland” and claimed they were “re-establishing historical justice”, though Russia has since led a targeted persecution of the indigenous Crimean people, the Crimean Tatars.
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