Ukraine will never forget the events that took place seven years ago associated with the occupation of Crimea, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
He made this statement on Friday in a video address before the start of the telethon devoted to the "Day of Resistance to the Occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol."
"We will never forget the events that took place seven years ago. Crimea was the heart of Ukraine. Sunny, kind, bright. Seven years ago, our heart was torn out. We will never forget who did it, and we will never forget who allowed it. Some argued that they had torn our heart out lawfully and politely. And now, holding it in their arms, they sincerely wonder why Ukraine is offended, why it does not want to have good relations, why there is so much hatred, why Ukraine cannot forget and forgive this," the Ukrainian President said.
The President added that for Ukraine to be able to happily and sincerely live, "its heart, the Crimean peninsula, must be returned.
"Unfortunately, this has not happened yet. But no one will be able to annex our memory. The memory that Crimea remains occupied. That the boots were brutally wiped on security guarantees and international law. That the active militarization of the region is taking place. That the rights of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars are regularly violated in Crimea. Freedom of speech, thinking, religion is persecuted. Public activists and journalists are being imprisoned," he recorded.
Explaining that the Russian Federation holds captive more than a hundred political prisoners from Crimea, Zelensky reminded that the first meeting of the Crimean Platform would take place on the eve of Independence Day in Kyiv with the participation of Ukraine's international partners.
"Dear Crimea! The whole of Ukraine is waiting for you. 'Welcome' is usually said to guests. And relatives are told: 'We look forward to seeing you at home.' Dear Crimeans! It's time to return home. We are waiting, we are believing, we are loving the people of Ukraine," the head of state pronounced.
Day of Resistance
Seven years ago, on February 26, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol were illegally annexed by the Russian Federation, and the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine began.
Ukraine annually marks the "Day of Resistance to Russia’s Occupation of Crimea" on February 26.
The Crimean Platform is a new consultative and coordination format initiated by Ukraine to improve the international response to the occupation of Crimea and growing security challenges.
The Platform aims to increase international pressure on Russia, prevent further human rights violations, protect victims of the occupation regime, and achieve the goal of de-occupation of Crimea and its return to Ukraine.
The Crimean Platform will operate at several levels: The first is the highest political level, which will be joined by foreign heads of state and government. The second is the level of heads of foreign policy departments and defence ministers; the third is the inter-parliamentary level; the fourth is the level of non-governmental experts.
The activities of the Crimean Platform will be officially launched at the inaugural summit which is planned to be held in Kyiv on August 23, 2021.