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.
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.