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Foreign Ministry's spokesman Oleh Nikolenko wrote on Jan. 31 that Croatian President Zoran Milanovic's recent statement about Crimea was "unacceptable." The day before, Milanovic criticized the West's decision to send tanks to Ukraine and said that the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula would "never again be part of Ukraine," according to CNN.
"I wonder if Zoran Milanovic would have been able to become the president of his country with such rhetoric in the 1990s when Croatia was struggling to preserve its statehood. Would his voters agree to turn a blind eye to the occupation of part of their country's territory? I doubt it," reads Nikolenko's post on Facebook.
He added, though, that Foreign Ministry "highly appreciates and thanks the government of Croatia and the Croatian people for their steadfast support of Ukrainians in the fight against Russian aggression."
Croatian president has repeatedly spoken out against providing military support to Ukraine as it defends against full-scale Russian invasion, while the country's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has publicly voiced support for Ukraine.
As Milanovic hadn't approved Croatia's participation in the EU training mission for the Ukrainian military (EUMAM), the Croatian parliament didn't manage to adopt the proposal for the country to join this mission last December.
Russia invaded and occupied Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in February 2014 during the Euromaidan Revolution that ousted pro-Russian ex-President Viktor Yanukovych. The peninsula houses Russia's Black Sea Fleet and tens of thousands of Russian troops.
Amid Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to retake the peninsula. Ukraine has also targeted Russian air and military bases in Crimea in order to hamper Russia's war effort.