The full-scale invasion of Ukraine turns six months old this Wednesday. Although it actually started eight years ago, when Russia forcibly annexed Crimea. And kyiv has set out to recover this Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula. “This started in Crimea and it will end in Crimea,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky proclaimed on Tuesday. In claiming him, the president has obtained the support of the leaders of some 60 countries and international organizations such as NATO and the United Nations, who have participated in a telematic event, organized from kyiv. All the participants have rejected the war and the unilateral annexation of March 2014. “We will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia”, warned the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. “Crimea is Ukraine, just like Donetsk and Luhansk are Ukraine, just like any other part of the country is Ukraine. That was our position in 2014 and it is our position in 2022. We must continue to increase international pressure on President Putin and his allies until the rights of the Ukrainian people are respected”, encouraged the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.
Zelenski’s proclamation at the beginning of the event makes one thing clear: the end of the war is not near. A day before the country’s Independence Day is also celebrated, the Ukrainian president has come to say that he has no intention of stopping hostilities until Russia withdraws to the borders that existed between the two countries eight years ago. Something that does not seem to be going through Vladimir Putin’s head or that of other heads of the Moscow regime, since just this Tuesday they have also used another symbolic act, the burial of Daria Dugina, assassinated last Saturday night in the middle of road in Moscow, to justify the aggression against Ukraine.
In the midst of this intersection, the quote borrowed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg from the most famous phrase in the series fits like a glove Game of Thrones: “Winter is coming [Winter in coming] And it will be hard.” In other words, the war continues. The Norwegian has also recovered a warning to Moscow that he already used in June, before the Atlantic Alliance summit in Madrid: “We will be with Ukraine as long as necessary.” He then reminded that the 30 countries of the organization he heads have sent weapons to kyiv for war.
Shortly after these words, the United States has announced the shipment of another 3,000 million dollars (3,011 million euros) in war material and training for Ukraine, in a new sign that hostilities will probably last for quite some time. And faced with this perspective, few options remain for the European Union and its member states other than to continue supporting kyiv, although a negotiated solution to the conflict is not ruled out. “We will continue to send weapons, rockets and defenses against drones,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised at the same event, in which he participated by videoconference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
All these steps match the movements that have been observed for a few weeks on the ground. For much of the contest so far, Ukraine has remained on the defensive. Even so, it has achieved important successes, such as the defense of kyiv and the withdrawal of Russian troops that was achieved in Kharkov. Moscow’s advance in Donbas was also severely hampered. However, since the beginning of the month, Ukraine has shown signs of going on the offensive. Her army tries to regain control in the Jersón area, very close to Crimea.
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But it has been on the peninsula itself where the most symbolic movements have taken place. In Crimea there have been several Ukrainian attacks that have seriously damaged Russian military installations, such as an air base where several fighter planes were destroyed. In addition, the Ministry of Defense of kyiv launched this same Monday a non-explicit, but very clear threat, about the great infrastructure that the Russians have built in the region since they invaded it in 2014: the Kerch bridge over the Black Sea and the Azov. “Kerch Bridge… we are watching you,” this department has written on its official Twitter account.
The defense of international legality and the rejection of border modifications by force have been the most repeated ideas in the so-called Platform for Crimea, an act in which the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Japan, among others, have participated. , Italy, New Zealand, Turkey, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Switzerland, and organizations such as the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Only the head of state of Poland, Andrzej Duda, has been present in kyiv. The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, has participated with a recorded video because he was traveling to Colombia. The event lasted almost six hours and was presided over by President Zelenski, who was not dressed in his usual military shirt, but in a traditional Ukrainian shirt (although it was khaki green), with embroidery on the chest.
Along with the rejection of the invasion of Ukraine and the war, human rights violations have also played a major role in the event. Zelenski has denounced what he has described as “the greatest religious persecution of the 21st century against the Muslim community of Crimea”. “There was an expulsion from occupied Crimea for those people who said that Crimea is Ukraine and that they are not afraid to defend Ukrainian culture. Murder, torture, humiliation. We have seen all that, ”he continued. Blinken has also charged against Moscow on this flank: “We see the atrocities and the repression of the Russian forces, extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, torture, rape, repression […]. They are still being perpetrated in Crimea.”