On Monday, August 23, the Crimean Platform international summit started in Kyiv. Its main purpose is to coordinate international efforts to bring the annexed Crimea back to Ukraine.
The summit is attended by representatives of all EU countries, the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Turkey, Georgia, Moldova, more than 40 states in total, as well as representatives of the EU and NATO. As a result of the summit, a declaration will be adopted, the participants of which will confirm "readiness to adhere to the policy of non-recognition of Crimea’s annexation by Russia."
During his speech, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that only joint efforts can save “the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine from military aggression”.
"We realize that our independent country, Ukraine, will never be able to get Crimea back on its own. We need effective support at the international level and support at a new level for the de-occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula. Today, further effective steps are needed to liberate Crimea. Our common efforts could get rid of armed aggression and stop aggression in the temporarily occupied territories," Zelensky said.
At the same time, Ukrainian President stressed that Ukraine will do everything possible to get Crimea back, and that the peninsula together with Ukraine will become part of Europe. Zelensky noted that all possible political, legal and diplomatic means will be used for this.
"In the history of the Ukrainian Crimea, this is the chapter on de-occupation, because it is de-occupation that is the ultimate goal of mine and our country. This is the ultimate goal of the daily work of the Crimean Platform. The synergy of our efforts should force Russia to sit down at the negotiating table to return our peninsula," the Ukrainian President added.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow "will take a note of those countries" that will participate in the Crimean Platform summit.
In February 2014, armed people in uniforms without insignias appeared in Crimea and captured the Supreme Council of Crimea, the Simferopol Airport, the Kerch ferry crossing and other strategic objects, and prevented the Ukrainian army from taking action. Initially, the Russian government refused to acknowledge that these armed people were Russian soldiers, but President Vladimir Putin later admitted it.
On 16 March 2014, a referendum on the status of Crimea was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, in which the inhabitants supposedly voted for the peninsula to become part of Russia. The outcome of the so-called referendum is not recognized by Ukraine, the EU or the US. On 18 March, Putin announced the “annexation” of Crimea to Russia.
International organizations have declared the annexation illegal and condemned Russia’s actions. Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia in connection with the annexation. Russia claims to have “restored historical justice”. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, declared 20 February 2014 the start of Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.