Andrii Sybiha, deputy head of the President’s Office, said that Kyiv may negotiate with Russia on Crimea if Ukraine is successful in its much-anticipated spring counteroffensive, the Financial Times reported.
“If we will succeed in achieving our strategic goals on the battlefield and when we will be on the administrative border with Crimea, we are ready to open (a) diplomatic page to discuss this issue,” he said, as quoted by the Financial Times.
The official also noted that Ukraine does not exclude the possibility of liberating Crimea through military means.
Crimea was illegally annexed by the Russian Federation in 2014, and it is currently home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Recent satellite images show Russia’s continued build-up of military fortifications in Crimea ahead of Ukraine’s planned counteroffensive.
Sybiha’s comments come in the context of Zelensky’s promise to return occupied Crimea to Ukraine.
Zelensky has repeatedly stated his conviction that all of Ukraine’s territory will be liberated from Russian control, including Crimea.
Zelensky has, however, previously said that there is a possibility of Crimea being returned to Ukraine through diplomatic means.