Zelenskyy has signed a decree declaring February 26 the Day of Resistance to Occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol.
“We will never forget events that took place seven years ago. Crimea was the heart of Ukraine. It was sunny, warm and bright. Seven years ago, our heart was torn out”, he said.
Zelenskyy added that no one could annex the people’s memory. “Somebody has tried to assure us that they have torn out our heart legally and politely. And now squeezing it in their hands, they wonder why Ukraine feels offended and does not want good relationships. Why there is so much hatred. Why Ukraine cannot forget and forgive. And what is needed for Ukraine to smile joyfully and sincerely again? It is as simple as that. They must return our heart, return the Crimean peninsula”, Zelenskyy said.
In his video address, the President of Ukraine spoke about the active militarization of Crimea and the violation of the rights of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars there. He wrote in his Internet account, “For the first time in years that have followed the annexation of Crimea, Ukraine begins to take concrete steps aimed at returning the occupied territory. The liberation of Crimea is a common task for the international community which unites on the Crimea Platform. Crimea is Ukraine!”.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Ukraine continues to work on the de-occupation of the peninsula and holding Russia, the country-aggressor, responsible for the invasion. The creation of the Crimea Platform is one of the forms of such work.
The statement of the Foreign Office published on the Day of Resistance to Crimea’s occupation reads, “Ukraine continues to consolidate international effort with the aim of achieving the full de-occupation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as well as making Russia answerable for its crimes. To this end, Ukraine is creating the Crimea Platform, a new international format, and calling on all partners to join it. With joint efforts we will be able to restore justice and stability”.
The United States will never recognize the sovereignty of Russia over Crimea and will continue supporting Ukraine.
“Seven years ago today, Russia violated international law, the norms by which modern countries engage one another, and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbor Ukraine when it invaded Crimea. The United States continues to stand with Ukraine and its allies and partners today, as it has from the beginning of this conflict. On this somber anniversary, we reaffirm a simple truth: Crimea is Ukraine”, reads a statement, published on the White House website on February 26.
American President Joe Biden went on to say, “The United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the peninsula, and we will stand with Ukraine against Russia’s aggressive acts. The United States will continue to work to hold Russia accountable for its abuses and aggression in Ukraine.
“We will also continue to honor the courage and hope of the Revolution of Dignity, in which the Ukrainian people faced down sniper fire and enforcers in riot gear on the Maidan and demanded a new beginning for their country”, said the American President.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Joe Biden for supporting Ukraine and not recognizing the Russian annexation of Crimea.
“I’m thankful to Joe Biden for his powerful message: Crimea is Ukraine! That’s what the true strategic partnership is for. Ukrainians appreciate highly the support of the United States ranging from the support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity to the strengthening of its defense capability to the implementation of reforms. Together we can stand, separately we fall”, wrote the Ukrainian President.
The European Union also published a declaration on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the annexation of Crimea. “Six years on from the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the European Union remains steadfast in its commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity”, reads the document.
On behalf of all member-states of the European Union, High Representative Josep Borrell declared, “The European Union reiterates that it does not recognise and continues to condemn this violation of international law”. He stressed that the annexation of Crimea remains a direct challenge to international security and assured that the European Union is ready to consider Ukraine’s ideas on the de-occupation of the peninsula.
On February 26, Ukraine marked the Day of Resistance to the occupation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. On that day, a mass meeting organized by the Medjlis of Crimean Tatars was held in the city of Simferopol in protest against intentions to separate the peninsula from Ukraine. That day became a symbol of resistance to the occupation that lasts for seven years now.
The newspaper Voice of Ukraine