Zelensky pledges to make Crimea 'part of the European Union'
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Crimea was annexed by Russia back in 2014, and is now the base for Russia’s Black Sea fleet at Sevastopol. Ukrainian outlet Ukrainform quoted Mr Zelensky’s nightly address earlier this week, in which he promised Russian forces would have “nowhere to hide” in Russian-controlled territories.
Ukrainian forces would target ammunition depots, command centres and Russian infrastructure in Crimea, the president vowed.
He described the occupied territories as “Ukrainian land”, presenting Russian soldiers with the option to “flee or surrender”.
He said: “Our fighters will annihilate enemy warehouses, command centres, and equipment – wherever they are – be it near Sevastopol or Luhansk.”
He added: “This is Ukrainian land, and invaders can choose to either flee or surrender.
“We’re not leaving them any other options.”
In August, Mr Zelensky pledged to restore Kyiv’s rule over the occupied peninsula and “liberate” Crimea after eight years of Russian control.
President Zelensky told the Crimea Platform summit: “To overcome terror, it is necessary to gain victory in the fight against Russian aggression.
“It is necessary to liberate Crimea.
“This will be the resuscitation of world law and order”
He continued: “Ukraine’s restoration of control over Crimea will be a historic anti-war step in Europe.
“This will restore security and provide justice, reintegrate Crimea into the modern world.
“It will allow every one of us the participants of the Crimean platform to tell our children or relatives that they can be proud of us as peacemakers.”
He described Crimea as “part of our people, our society”, adding there were “colossal opportunities” for the people residing on the peninsula.
Last month, several explosions were reported at major Russian military facilities in Crimea, including a key railway junction near Dzhankoi and an ammunition depot, which Moscow blamed on sabotage.
The Russian foreign ministry said: “The necessary measures are being taken to eliminate the consequences of sabotage.”
But just before this set of explosions, Ukraine’s military said that up to a dozen Russian aircraft had been destroyed at the Saky base in Crimea.
Mr Zelensky commented on the explosions: “In just one day, the occupiers lost 10 combat aircraft: nine in Crimea and one more in the direction of Zaporizhzhia.”
He added: “The occupiers also suffer new losses of armoured vehicles, warehouses with ammunition, logistics routes.”
Satellite imagery showed a number of military aircraft burnt and destroyed at the Russian airbase.
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