Ukraine Vows to Reclaim Crimea Follow, and Turkey Backs Him – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reaffirmed his commitment to reclaiming all Ukrainian territory from Russia, likely emboldened by a series of explosions witnessed on the Crimean peninsula over the last two weeks. Zelenskyy’s efforts to push back Russian forces in south-eastern Ukraine have been bolstered by the work of anti-Kremlin Russian saboteurs in the peninsula who have orchestrated a series of attacks on Russian military facilities.
In an address to the Crimea Platform summit on Tuesday, Zelenskyy said he would do all he could to take back control of Crimea.
The Ukrainian president also responded to international warnings that Russia is preparing to step up attacks on civilian population centers in Ukraine in the coming weeks, promising to retaliate if Moscow follows through.
“What will Ukraine do if Russia strikes Kyiv? The same as what we are doing now,” Zelenskyy said. “If they strike us in these cities, they will receive strikes in return, very powerful strikes in return. I want to say that these retaliatory strikes will grow every day and become more powerful.”
While the Ukrainian president didn’t explicitly state that he plans to strike Russian territory, his comments come as some analysts predict that Ukraine likely already has long-range weapons that could allow its military to strike Russia.
Turkey Sides With Ukraine
After working harder than most other NATO leaders to facilitate peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday sided with Ukraine and urged Russia to leave Crimea and bring the aggression in Ukraine to an end.
President Erdogan says that Russia is required by international law to leave Crimea and give it back to Ukraine.
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) August 23, 2022
In a video message to the second Crimea Platform Summit hosted this week, Ankara expressed support for Zelenskyy’s vision of regaining all Ukrainian territory from Russia and pushing invading forces out of the country entirely. Erdogan not only expressed his support for Zelenskyy’s plan, but told Moscow that it was a requirement of international law to leave the peninsula.
“The return of Crimea to Ukraine, of which it is an inseparable part, is essentially a requirement of international law,” the Turkish president said.
Erdogan also promised to continue supporting the Crimean Platform, an initiative established to coordinate an international response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine. The Turkish president said that Turkey sees Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula as “illegitimate and illegal” and that his country’s “principled stance” has both legal and moral foundations.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.