Zelenskyy: War Won’t End Until Russia Returns Crimea

Well over a year since Russian troops invaded neighboring Ukraine, there is little evidence that the ensuing war is on the verge of a resolution.

Instead, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signaled earlier this week that the hostilities will continue unless the Kremlin agrees to return the Crimean peninsula, which it captured in a mission nearly a decade ago.

In an interview on Sunday, Zelenskyy declared: “We cannot imagine Ukraine without Crimea. And while Crimea is under the Russian occupation, it means only one thing. War is not over yet.”

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 after Ukraine’s then-president was overthrown and exiled and five years before the current president was elected. Nevertheless, Zelenskyy insisted that the region be returned to his country’s control in order for the war to end.

Ukraine, aided by cash and military equipment from the United States and allies around the world, has been able to fend off the much larger Russian army since last year’s invasion — and Zelenskyy has repeatedly pleaded with foreign nations to continue subsidizing his nation’s war efforts.

He also taunted Russian President Vladimir Putin in the recent interview, citing the short-lived coup effort by the leader of the Wagner militia group as evidence that Russia’s military might has diminished since the invasion.

“We see Putin’s reaction,” Zelenskyy said. “It’s weak. 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.”

The Ukrainian president went on to declare that Russia’s “whole army is in Ukraine,” leaving Putin vulnerable in his own country.

“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.”

Among the other issues addressed during the CNN interview on Sunday were reports about a supposed meeting between Zelenskyy and CIA Director William Burns.

“I was surprised to see the information in some media, both in the US and Ukrainian and European media,” Zelenskyy said. “My communication with the CIA chief should always be behind the scenes … because we discuss important things. We don’t have any secrets from CIA, because we have good relations and our intelligence services talk with each other.”