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Some Western officials asked Ukraine not to liberate Crimea, an official says

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 6, 2023 12:53 PM 2 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

Some Western officials have asked Ukraine not to liberate Russian-occupied Crimea over fears that Moscow would pull the nuclear lever, Permanent Representative of the Ukrainian President in Crimea Tamila Tasheva told Polish Press Agency on May 5.

Tasheva said in an interview that some Western officials, not states, "claim that the recapture of Crimea could lead to a nuclear war." They agree that Ukraine can liberate Crimea but warned that "the potential consequences will be huge, both for the inhabitants of the peninsula and for Ukraine," she added.

Some of them claimed that Crimea was never Ukrainian, Tasheva said, which echoes a Russian narrative that Moscow has shared to try to justify its illegal occupation of the peninsula.  Crimea has never been Russia either, Tasheva stressed, adding that historically Crimea belongs to Crimean Tatars, the indigenous Muslim population of Crimea who have lived in the peninsula for centuries.

Regardless of the warning from some unnamed officials, Tasheva said, "Ukraine will probably retake Crimea in the near future."  She said she doesn't believe Russia would turn to nuclear weapons "because (Russian President Vladimir) Putin knows that if he does, there will be no turning back."

"Russia has turned Crimea into a military base where everything that is not Russian is persecuted," Tasheva said.

Russia has occupied Crimea since it annexed the peninsula in 2014 in the wake of the EuroMaidan Revolution that ousted then pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Since the start of the full-scale war, Russia has been using Crimea to launch missiles against Ukraine and as a logistic route to transfer equipment to the southern battlefield.  

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 5 – Everything we know about Ukrainian attacks inside Russia
“This Week in Ukraine” is a video podcast hosted by Kyiv Independent’s reporter Anastasiia Lapatina. Every week, Anastasiia sits down with her newsroom colleagues to discuss Ukraine’s most pressing issues. Episode #5 is dedicated to Ukrainian attacks deep behind enemy lines – on Russian soil, and i…
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ISW: Russia holds offensive initiative.

"Russian forces have regained the theater-wide initiative and will be able to pursue offensive operations when and where they choose as long as they hold the initiative," the ISW said.
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