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Military de-occupation of Crimea and mobilization strengthening: Zelenskyy's key statements

Military de-occupation of Crimea and mobilization strengthening: Zelenskyy's key statements President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Photo:
Author: Daria Shekina

Mobilization in Ukraine may strengthen, but only after sorting out the functioning of military enlistment offices. As for the liberation of Crimea by military means, it's premature to discuss that publicly at this time.

RBC-Ukraine presents the key statements of Volodymyr Zelenskyy at today's press conference.

About Crimea's future

Ukraine will sign a memorandum with leading companies that are ready to enter and develop Crimea after its de-occupation.

"For us, the integration of the peninsula into Ukraine is very important. They lived without Ukraine for 9.5 years, it's a complex task, but Ukraine will come, the economy will come, and Crimea will be part of Ukraine in fact. We are moving closer to full membership in the European Union, and Crimea within the EU as part of Ukraine is a completely different story," notes Zelenskyy.

According to him, it is important to integrate Crimea without security threats in the future. To ensure that the peninsula operates continuously, not just during the tourist season.

About the Crimean Tatar people

"The future of the Crimean Tatar people in Ukraine, our citizens, they are an indigenous people of Ukraine... Free people will definitely return those who were taken captive. I'm not sure if I can promise more than that today. The main thing is the return of Crimea home, everything else comes afterward," emphasizes the president.

About U.S support

"The Ukrainian side maintains constant contact with the United States, with topics of negotiations being the peace formula, arms supply, and strengthening of Ukrainian air defense. Regarding some concerning voices in the US, in Congress, I am confident it won't be easy. I'm glad that we have bipartisan support and strong backing from the American society and the White House," mentions Zelenskyy.

He adds that the US elections will impact support, but in Ukraine, they will do everything to prevent it from weakening. He also hopes that the majority of votes in the Republican Party will be for Ukraine.

About long-range missiles from the U.S

"We are working on it... lobbying through various doors. And we will definitely get results. Just like we got serious missiles. Now, when we use them, it's not a secret. It was not easy... as with Rishi (UK Prime Minister - Ed.) I negotiated with Emmanuel Macron (President of France - Ed.) about SCALP. It works, the military is very satisfied, almost 100% hits on the enemy," Zelenskyy states.

Regarding other long-range weapons, the result will be similar to that with fighter jets.

About the advance to the south and equipment shortages

Ukrainian military in the south often has to advance on foot due to the shortage of Western armored vehicles.

"We don't want to risk both lives and equipment, but it's the choice of commanders on the ground. First and foremost, it's about the people, and then the equipment. My signals are known to everyone; I constantly visit the front," Zelenskyy says.

In his view, Ukrainians have forgotten that they are fighting against the "second army in the world" and have become complacent, thinking they have already won. A significant victory was that Russia failed to destroy the Ukrainian state. However, the final victory will come with the return of all people and the liberated territories.

About concessions for NATO membership

"To exchange NATO for our land is a dishonest conversation, a dishonest dialogue, and an artificial provocation... That's all," he comments on statements about Russia's supposed willingness to make concessions.

Recently, the Chief of Staff to NATO Secretary-General, Stoltenberg, casually suggested that one solution for membership in the Alliance could be giving up parts of territories. His words received sharp criticism.

About why Ukrainian Armed Forces aren't redeploying from east to south

He also responds to publications suggesting that Ukraine should concentrate its forces on a southern offensive.

"Regarding the redistribution of forces. We have the east. Does anyone understand how many occupants are there? 200,000. Let's take our forces from there and move them somewhere, for instance, where we need them. I believe that is their hope. Kharkiv. We won't give up Kharkiv, Pavlohrad, or Dnipro. Let various world analysts not even count on that," Zelenskyy assures.

About F-16 and Gripen fighter jets

With partners, the agreements are as follows. The Ukrainian technical team will spend 5 weeks familiarizing themselves with the Gripen in Sweden, and if this is suitable and the Swedish government is ready to discuss it, then the parties will agree on a training mission.

"To be frank, the Air Force Commander, along with experts, was sent from Ukraine to Sweden. We simply didn't publicly announce it. Technical checks have started, and the commander has already returned. If there is consensus after this, we will start talking about Gripen," the president emphasizes.

Regarding the F-16, it will become the main aircraft of Ukraine's future fleet. Clear agreements have been made with Denmark, which will supply 19 fighter jets at different stages.

Additionally, the Ukrainian side expects 42 aircraft from the Dutch Air Force. 18 of them will undergo training and will be received after the training is completed. The rest will be delivered as soon as other pilots are ready.

Zelenskyy clarifies that initially there were hopes for at least 12 F-16 units.

About military de-occupation of Crimea

The updated strategy for the de-occupation of the peninsula will encompass economic, ecological, security, and demilitarization issues.

"But counting on Crimea being completely... I've heard that someone says it will just be a tourist oasis, that's not true. No one will allow the opportunity to occupy Crimea. So, in short, the fleet will... I'm not sure that today we have the right to publicly talk about the military de-occupation of Crimea," he responds to recent statements by Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov.

He also adds that he instructed diplomats to prepare an alliance of countries along the Black Sea coast for joint defense against Russian aggression. Moreover, this alliance could extend to the security of the Azov and Baltic Seas.

About mobilization strengthening

The president was asked whether all Ukrainians would serve. Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Yehor Cherniev, specifically raised this question. The day before, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov stated that military recruitment offices would have access to all digital registries.

"I'll be straightforward, the military personnel have approached me to allow for increased mobilization. It is crucial in this matter to understand who is doing this and how. Therefore, the issues with military recruitment offices and military medical commissions are very important," Zelenskyy says.

About Putin's responsibility

"This is our problem and our task – to unite the world around our issues. Not to complain about partners, but to work as much as possible... I'm not the Hague Tribunal. It's difficult for me to say what Putin will be held accountable for. Our task is for him and all the people who took our territories and the lives of our people... We need to talk about how all these people - killers, terrorists, and those who gave these orders - must be held accountable," the president emphasizes.

About the possibility of a third "war-time" Independence Day

Zelenskyy was asked whether Ukraine could withstand a third year of full-scale war with Russia.

"We have no chance not to continue defending our state, not to de-occupy our territory... I really wish we were losing fewer people, but we understand who we are dealing with. We have no other way, we are fighting for our own, and we have very little of it - one country. So, I can't say whether there will be a third Independence Day during the war," he adds.