Volodymyr Zelensky: As Long as Crimea Is Occupied, the War Will Not End

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“Kyiv’s efforts are focused on liberating occupied territories in south and east Ukraine, but our ultimate goal has always been the liberation of the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014 in a violation of the international law. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said this last Sunday in an exclusive interview with CNN in Odessa. “We cannot imagine Ukraine without the Crimea. As long as the Crimea is under Russian occupation, the war will not end," Zelensky stressed. Asked whether a scenario in which achieving peace without the return of Crimea was possible, Zelensky replied: “Then it would not be a victory. Zelensky also spoke about the recent mutiny and assessed the stability of Kremlin’s power. “We saw Putin’s response to Yevgeny Prigozhin’s fleeting mutiny. It was weak. We can see that Putin does not have everything under control. The Wagner march through several regions demonstrated how easily such a thing can be put into practice. Putin is not in control of the situation in the regions,” the Ukrainian President believes. CNN’s Erin Barnett’s full interview with Zelensky was published on Monday, July 3. Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Anna Maliar said on Monday that the liberated area in the eastern direction had increased by nine square kilometres over the past week as a result of an improved operational (tactical) situation and the levelling of the front line. In the south, she said, the liberated area had increased by 28.4 square kilometres over the past week. “In total, the liberated area in the south is 158.4 square kilometres,” the Deputy Defence Minister stressed. The Russian side did not comment on Kyiv’s statements.