Ukraine does not give up Crimea: “Russia has made it a great military base”

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky. REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi (VIACHESLAV RATYNSKYI/)

Despite the fact that some ask them “for the sake of peace” to renounce crimeathe Ukrainians insist that they will not accept any solution that does not imply the recovery of this peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014 and that the Kremlin used to attack from closer to the rest of Ukraine.

“Russia has controlled Crimea for almost nine years, and what has it done with it? Make it your big military base,” she told EFE Maria Tomakleader of the Platform for Crimea, who recalls that Moscow continues to use its fleet in the peninsula to reach Ukrainian regions of the entire country with its missiles.


The representative of this initiative launched by the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenskyin 2021 to work internationally for the return of Crimea to the Ukrainian borders, also recalls that this peninsula was key for Russia managed to conquer southern territories such as Kherson at the beginning of this war.

“Accepting the occupation of Crimea is condemning the regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson”, explains Tomak, who alludes to the logistical difficulties for Russia to provide supplies to the peninsula without a land corridor that connects it with the Russian Federation or with Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories.


“Russia’s presence in Crimea will always be a danger for Ukraine,” he told EFE Tamila Tasheva, representative of the Ukrainian presidency for Crimea.

Tasheva points out that it was the Russian occupation of Crimea that allowed Russia to conquer or blockade Ukrainian ports on the Black Seathreatening exports of a volume of grain that is vital for the food security of many countries.

Merchant ships, including several subject to the Black Sea grain deal, wait to cross the Bosphorus Strait frebte to the Yenikapi coast in Istanbul, Turkey.  REUTERS/Umit Bektas
Merchant ships, including several subject to the Black Sea grain deal, wait to cross the Bosphorus Strait frebte to the Yenikapi coast in Istanbul, Turkey. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (UMIT BEKTAS/)


Tasheva was born in Uzbekistan into a family of Crimean Tatars deported by Stalinwhich in 1944 sent to Central Asia by force over 230,000 Crimean Tatars to Russify the peninsula.

Tasheva returned to Crimea with the Ukrainian declaration of independence in 1991.

Since the Russian occupation of 2014, he has been working to assist those fighting for human rights, reunification with Ukraine and Tatar identity under Russian occupation, which Kiev says holds more than 180 political prisoners behind bars, 116 of whom are of Tatar origin.


Crimea had more than two million inhabitants before the Russian annexation. About a hundred thousand sought refuge in other parts of Ukraine and Moscow it facilitated the immigration to the peninsula of hundreds of thousands of Russians.

“Russia follows the same strategy everywhere,” says Tomak. “He doesn’t want diversity in Crimea, but rather to clean up so that he doesn’t have more than loyal people who don’t interfere with his concept of Crimea as a military base,” he adds.


If Crimea were not Ukrainian it would be Tatarbut in no case Russian”, says Tasheva about the supposed Russian character that would be conferred by having been part of the Russian and Soviet empires for more than two centuries.

Before the tsarina Katherine conquered it for Russia in 1783, Tasheva explains, Crimea had its own Tatar-ruled state, the Khanate, for more than three centuries. “The Tatars are the indigenous people of Crimea and we cannot leave them without a place to live,” says Tomak.


Western reservations about the Ukrainian goal of recapturing Crimea also affect the military aid Ukraine receives. “So far we have not received weapons that would allow us to liberate Crimea,” says Tomak, referring to the limited range of Western weapons he is receiving. kyiv.

T72 war tanks in Ukraine (EFE)
View of T-72 tanks, in the Crimea a file photograph. EFE/Sergei Ilnitsky (SERGEI ILNITSKY/)

Ukraine has managed to hit Russian military infrastructure and targets on the occupied peninsula, but it has done so with military hardware of its own making. Ukrainian attacks on Crimea continue to cause nervousness in Washington and some European capitals for fear of Russian reprisals.


Another reason invoked by kyiv for ruling out any commitment that does not involve recovering Crimea has to do with the international precedent it would set.

“It would open a real Pandora’s box, because other aggressive states would use it to do the same in other territories if Russia and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin get their way,” says Tomak.

(With information from EFE)

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