Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowed on Tuesday to re-establish Ukrainian control over Russia-annexed Crimea, claiming that doing so would help restore “world law and order”.
He told an international conference on Crimea that regaining control of the peninsula, which Russia seized and annexed in 2014 in a move that most other countries did not recognize, would be the “biggest anti-war step”.
“It all began with Crimea, and it will end with Crimea,” Zelenskiy stated in his opening statement to the Crimea Platform, a forum aimed at restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity and putting a stop to Russia’s takeover of Crimea.
“It is necessary to liberate Crimea from occupation,” he declared, calling for victory over Russia. This will be the rebirth of global law and order.”
According to Zelenskiy, the summit was attended by representatives from around 60 states and international organizations, including approximately 40 presidents and prime ministers.
Almost everyone participated online, except for Polish President Andrzej Duda, who attended in person. He encouraged world leaders not to turn a blind eye to what he saw as Russian aggression, and said there would be no going back to business as usual with Moscow.
“Crimea was, remains and will be a part of Ukraine just like Gdansk is a part of Poland, Nice is a part of France, Cologne is a part of Germany, and Rotterdam is a part of Netherlands,” Duda stated.
Russia has shown no signs of vacating Crimea, which houses its Black Sea navy, and has exploited the peninsula as a launch pad for missile strikes against Ukrainian targets.
It has refuted allegations of human rights violations in Crimea, claiming that a vote held after Russian soldiers took control of the peninsula demonstrated that Crimeans really want to be a part of Russia. Most countries do not recognize the referendum.
According to Zelenskiy, Russia has transformed Crimea into “an ecological disaster zone and a military springboard for aggression”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated in a video linkup that Russia’s “land grab (of Crimea) in 2014 was the direct precursor of today’s war” accusing Russia of turning it into “an armed camp, from which to threaten the rest of Ukraine”
“It’s about our universal values.” French President Emmanuel Macron said of non-European countries’ backing for Ukraine against Russia.
Separately, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal stated that foreign assistance had reached $14 billion since the invasion, and that Ukraine intended to receive another $12-$16 billion from global partners by the end of this year.