No single negotiating platform on issue of Crimea de-occupation for six years created – Zelensky
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky believes that not a single negotiating platform on the issue of the de-occupation of Crimea over the last six years has been created, he promised to change the situation.
"Within the framework of the Normandy negotiation process, Russia does not want to discuss the issue of de-occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and not a single effective negotiating platform over the last six years has been created to promote the reinstatement of Ukraine's control over the peninsula. However, the incumbent Ukrainian authorities will be working to change that," Zelensky said in an interview with the Euronews television channel.
The head of state said that the situation with Crimea is more complicated than with Donbas. He also said that he raised the 'Crimean issue' during the negotiations in the Normandy Format, but Russia refused to discuss it.
"But Crimea is our territory, we will return it," the president said.
"But I am telling you honestly - as of now there is no strong platform to raise this issue. I think that a platform like this has not been created over the six years, it does not exist. Except sanctions, and I am very grateful to our partners for these sanctions. We have been discussing them and our partners are extending these sanctions. That is not just Europe, but also the United States and other countries that are helping a lot," Zelensky said.
Zelensky said he viewed both the Donbas situation and the Crimea issue as priorities.
"Both issues are a priority. The only thing about the situation in the east, people are dying there. So with this particular human factor [restoration of peace in Donbas], for me personally this is in first place. But they are at the same level, because both territories are ours, they have to come back," Zelensky said.
In addition, according to the president, those who allowed the easy surrender of the Crimean peninsula under occupation should be held accountable.
"It is impossible to give Crimea back. This is a big problem. But today we can no longer speak and punch the air about how this happened. I am sure that one day everyone will be responsible for that. Many people have participated in this," the head of state said.