International

Zelensky: ‘We will definitely liberate Crimea’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday vowed to retake Crimea after parliamentary leaders convened in Croatia to coordinate the international response to Russia’s occupation in the region.

“We will definitely liberate Crimea,” Zelensky said in his nightly address.

“We will return this part of our country not only to the all-Ukrainian space, but also to the all-European space,” he continued. “This was confirmed once again today. And I am grateful to all our partners — almost 50 states and international organizations — who help in the parliamentary format.”

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, years prior to its invasion of other parts of Ukraine in February, although most of the international community does not recognize the Kremlin’s claims in Crimea or in four Ukrainian regions it annexed earlier this month.

Ukraine began the Crimea Platform initiative prior to Russia’s latest invasion, aiming to create a consultative international body to streamline a response to Moscow’s occupation.

Parliamentary leaders from dozens of countries gathered in Croatia this week for the platform’s first parliamentary summit, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) also attended in his capacity as NATO Parliamentary Assembly president.

Zelensky spoke virtually to parliamentary leaders gathered at the summit, saying it would “not be easy” to reintegrate Crimea with Ukraine but suggesting that “we are getting closer every day.”

“The return of the Ukrainian flag to Crimea is the return of the normality familiar to all Europeans, as it is available in each of your countries,” Zelensky said. “Security normality, economic, legal, social, cultural.”

Pelosi at the summit touted billions of dollars in aid Congress has allocated for Ukraine, vowing to pass more support when lawmakers wrap up must-pass government funding legislation later this year.

“This platform was established to bring the end of Russia’s occupation of Crimea and to restore control of the — Ukraine over the territory, in full accordance with international law. Crimea is Ukraine,” Pelosi said at the summit.

Pelosi’s statement came as progressive House lawmakers withdrew a letter calling for the Biden administration to directly engage with Russia and become more assertive in negotiating a cease-fire in Ukraine.

Progressives released the letter on Monday, perplexing many Democrats, before backing off one day later, saying it was published by staff and was drafted months earlier.

Tags Crimea Gerry Connolly Gerry Connolly Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi Russia-Ukraine war ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky Volodymyr Zelensky
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