Date: 30 August 2022 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński

Ukraine Continues Crimean Counteroffensive Also Outside Battle Zone

A series of attacks on Russian military facilities in Crimea coincided with the second summit of the Crimean Platform. Perhaps the brave deeds of the Ukrainian army were to promote the diplomatic initiative. Eight years after Russia unlawfully seized Crimea from Ukraine, the prospect of its liberation has not resonated louder than now. It is both about Ukraine’s military efforts and Western solidarity.

SOURCE: www.president.gov.ua

The second Crimean Platform began on August 23, a day before Ukraine’s Independence Day, coincided with the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, calls both summits this and last year to add the liberation of Crimea high on the world’s agenda. This year, Polish President Andrzej Duda was the only foreign leader to head to Kyiv. Other leaders took part in the Platform via a video link. The fact that Duda attended the summit confirms that Poland is a top Ukrainian ally alongside the United Kingdom. Polish and Ukrainian leaders said during the summit the two countries were drafting a new treaty to forge closer ties. Poland tops the list of countries that have provided military weapons to Ukraine and has taken the largest number of Ukrainian refugees, although deprived of EU financial aid. What also mattered for Kyiv was a joint statement of Crimean Platform participants, including the president of France and the prime ministers of the United Kingdom and Italy. “We call on Russia to ensure an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all its forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders,” the Crimean Platform wrote in a statement. Its states said they were concerned about “the increase in repressive measures by Russian occupying authorities, including abuses of human rights of the indigenous Crimean Tatars, as well as about the aggressive imposition of education in the Russian language, of Russian curricula and education materials and with efforts to use the education system for the propaganda of service in the armed or auxiliary forces of the Russian Federation among children.” They also deplored Russia’s seizure of the Ukrainian ports, which has impeded the lawful exercise of navigational rights and freedoms and maritime traffic. “We condemn Russia’s attempts to forcefully integrate parts of the Ukrainian territory currently under the control of invading Russian armed forces as a result of their illegal invasion,” the statement reads. This is of great political importance for Kyiv and helps Ukraine speak loud about how important it is to retake Crimea. The meeting consolidated Zelensky’s position as the Ukrainian leader said his country would not lay arms until it retook swathes of land grabbed by Russian past February 24, 2022, and between 2014 and 2015.

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