Ukrainian President: those who surrendered Crimea to Russia must be held accountable
Ukrainian statesmen, who surrendered Crimea to Russia without a fight in 2014, must be held accountable, stated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the annual address to the Parliament, Interfax-Ukraine reports.
According to the President, Ukraine is building a strong army, which will not allow the enemy to encroach on territorial integrity or take away part of the territories without a single shot, as it was in 2014 in Crimea.
The President stressed that those politicians who allowed Russia to occupy Crimea should be held accountable.
“The question is not revenge. And in fairness, society needs answers. And it’s not just about this issue. People have thousands of such questions. Lack of answers and lack fairness leads to a loss of trust. It is impossible to build a successful country if the society does not trust the state,” Zelensky said.
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.