Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said it would be possible to negotiate a solution for Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, rather than using force.
“When we are at the administrative borders of Crimea, I think it is possible politically to force the demilitarisation of Russia on the territory of the peninsula,’’ Zelensky said.
He said this during an interview on Sunday that was picked up by several Ukrainian media on Monday morning.
Kiev is currently fighting off a full-scale invasion by Russia and has repeatedly stated it aims to take back Crimea as well as areas seized since the war began in February 2022.
Ukrainian soldiers in the south of the country are gradually advancing towards the Black Sea coast, in an effort to cut off a Russian supply route to the peninsula.
Zelensky said a political solution for Crimea would be preferable as it would involve fewer victims.
Zelensky also underlined that he did not want to shift the war to Russian territory.
He noted the goal was to liberate Ukraine’s own territories and that advancing into Russian territory would risk the loss of crucial Western support.
Russian propagandists and backers of the war have repeatedly warned that, if defeated in the war, Russia could be divided and occupied by foreign forces.
Ukraine has not mounted any large-scale offensives on Russian territory with the aim of permanently occupying those areas.