On January 19, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that in the presence of heavy weapons from the West, the Ukrainian side would attempt to attack Crimea.
“Give us heavy weapons and we will return ours,” the Ukrainian leader said during an online speech at the World Economic Forum.
Earlier Thursday, the head of the Crimean parliament’s committee on public diplomacy and interethnic relations, Yuriy Gempel, predicted a “crushing response” to an attempt by the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) to strike at Crimea with the help of the United States. As he added, the aggressive plans of the American authorities and Ukraine regarding Crimea speak of the need to protect Russia’s interests up to the Ukrainian-Polish border.
On January 18, US State Department spokesman Ned Price assessed the possibility of Ukrainian attacks on Crimea. He stated that Ukraine can use Western weapons at its own discretion, based on its security concerns. According to the representative of the State Department, Washington is in constant contact with Kyiv, but does not dictate its own rules to it.
Meanwhile, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said that the rhetoric of US officials is becoming more and more belligerent. The ambassador added that the American media support the mood of the US administration, justifying possible Kyiv attacks on Russian Crimea. The diplomat also pointed out that the Russian army would destroy any weapons supplied by NATO to Ukraine, and also expressed confidence that Russia would respond to attacks on its territory.
The day before, the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) of Russia, Sergei Naryshkin, said that the return of the Crimean peninsula under the control of Ukraine is impossible.
Western countries began to actively send their weapons to Ukraine against the backdrop of a special operation to protect the Donbass, the beginning of which Russia announced on February 24 last year. Its beginning was preceded by an aggravation of the situation in the LDNR.
Crimea returned to the Russian Federation in 2014 following a referendum, in which most of the inhabitants of the peninsula voted for joining the Russian Federation. Kyiv refuses to recognize the results of the vote.