OAN’s Brooke Mallory
11:16 AM – Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated on Sunday that Ukraine would never consider a peaceful agreement in its 16-month conflict with Russia as long as Moscow controls Crimea.
“We cannot imagine Ukraine without Crimea. And while Crimea is under the Russian occupation, it means only one thing: War is not over yet,” Zelenskyy, 45, said in the recent CNN interview.
Moscow took control of Crimea in 2014, and Zelenskyy did not become the country’s president until 2019. Prior to 2019, he was still acting and performing as an entertainer.
When asked if he felt there could be a “victory and peace” scenario in which Crimea is not part of Ukraine, the former actor said, “There will not be victory there.”
When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, it followed the overthrow and exile of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych.
The vital Black Sea peninsula had been part of Ukraine since 1954, before Russia’s annexation, which was criticized by the U.S. and its allies. Despite Ukrainian efforts to reduce water supplies and undermine Moscow’s influence, Russia has maintained a tight hold on the peninsula in the years afterwards.
Zelenskyy has maintained that liberating Crimea is critical to finishing the conflict, perhaps bolstered by Ukraine’s impressive performance against Russia on the battlefield. However, the country’s impressive performance can be attributed to the $75 billion and additional weapons, tanks, and other supplies that the U.S. has given Ukraine since the war began.
On top of American aid, a plethora of other European countries, Japan, Canada, and more have similarly sent money, weapons, or supplies as well.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner mercenary group’s commander, ordered his soldiers to march on Moscow last month, throwing Russia’s military into confusion.
The mutiny was launched in purported protest of the Ministry of Defense’s plans to integrate the paramilitary organization into the regular army, and it came after Prigozhin claimed that a Russian attack had killed some of his soldiers.
“We see Putin’s reaction. It’s weak,” Zelenskyy mused on the abortive coup. “Firstly, we see he doesn’t control everything. Wagner is moving deep into Russia and taking certain regions shows how easy it is to do. Putin doesn’t control the situation in the region.”
“His whole army is in Ukraine,” the Ukrainian leader added. “We understand that Putin doesn’t control the regional policy, and he doesn’t control all those people in the region. So all that vertical of power he used to have just got crumbling down.”
According to reports, Prigozhin eventually negotiated an agreement with the Kremlin, mediated by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, and called off the march to Moscow. He then agreed to an apparent exile in a nearby nation.
Zelenskyy also expressed frustration regarding rumors that he met with CIA Director William Burns last month.
“I was surprised to see the information in some media, both in the US and Ukrainian and European media. My communication with the CIA chief should always be behind the scenes … because we discuss important things,” Zelenskyy said. “We don’t have any secrets from CIA, because we have good relations and our intelligence services talk with each other.”
The Washington Post reported that Ukrainian officials told Burns last week that Kyiv planned to recapture Russian-occupied areas in Ukraine’s east and southeast before beginning cease-fire talks with the Kremlin by the end of this year.
Stay informed! Receive breaking news blasts directly to your inbox for free. Subscribe here. https://www.oann.com/alerts