In an exclusive interview for ‘Crimea-native’ journalists, Ukraine’s president offers his take on the policies that can help Ukraine win back ‘minds’ of Crimean people.

Volodymyr Zelensky said the issue of the occupied pennisula is ‘the issue of territory, not minds’ arguing that  people in Crimea ‘did not consider themselves Russians’ despite Moscow propaganda.

‘Yes, the Russian Federation has been working with Crimean residents for a long time: passports, TV and propaganda. I remember from ‘95 Kvartal’ time – we were the only Ukrainian stars there. However, the locals did not consider themselves Russians, arguing that they were Crimeans’,  added the president.

Zelensky voiced optimism  saying ‘the Ukrainian authority will be gladly welcomed in Crimea’ since people there face no divisive ‘mentality’ issues about  rejoining Ukraine.

The interview conspicuously staged in Zmiinyi island in the Black Sea addressed a range of hot button issues.

‘Crimean Platform’

On September 23, 2020, during a speech at the UN General Assembly, President Volodymyr Zelensky invited the leaders of the UN member states to join the creation of an international platform to discuss de-occupation of Crimea.

In March, the President approved the ‘Strategy for the de-occupation and reintegration of the temporarily occupied Crimea’.

According to the Strategy, Ukraine is initiating an international negotiation process on the liberation of Crimea and restoration of the Ukrainian constitutional order in this territory.

This document is a call to unite international efforts to protect international law and build peace and security in Europe.

Now, the Cabinet of Ministers must develop a plan for the implementation of the de-occupation Strategy, based on which the state bodies of Ukraine will prepare and put in force appropriate steps.