Ukraine will reclaim Crimea as it is “our land,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said as he addressed the “Ukraine Breakfast” session at Davos on Thursday.
“It is not an intention, it is our land. Crimea is our sea and our mountains. Give us your weapons and we will regain [what is] ours,” Zelensky said when asked by the panel if he intends to retake Crimea.
“But there is still an opportunity for Russia to leave this territory, and not only this one. No one is saying that relations can be restored, but it can save the lives of their people,” he said.
“The gap between our countries is enormous. It is not artificial. It has been dug by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. He is standing with this shovel and will remain with this shovel in history,” Zelensky said.
Asked about the possibility of peace negotiations, Zelensky said: “Peace talks are not peace. The parties need to realize it. For the past three years [since he became president] we did everything we could to liberate our land through diplomacy,” he said.
“Someone did not want to, did not have time, did not believe, put forward conditions. There were many such people, and the center of that all was in Moscow,” he added.
“I don’t understand who to talk to. I do not quite understand whether he [Putin] is alive or whether he makes decisions, or who is making decisions,” said Zelensky. “I don’t quite understand how you can promise the European leaders one thing and start a war the next day.”
Some context: This isn’t the first time that Zelensky has vowed to overthrow Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began last year. Speaking last August, he stressed that for Ukrainians, Crimea is “not just some territory” or even a “figure in the geopolitical game.” “For Ukraine, Crimea is a part of our people, our society, a community of people to whom we guarantee freedom,” he said at the time.