KIEV – Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said he did not consider resorting to military force to retake the Donbass region and Crimea.
The Ukrainian authority has defended, on television, the preservation of the lives of Ukrainians rather than armed conflict.
“I, as president, am not ready to lose our people, so I chose diplomacy. I have always said that if we are talking about people and territories, the first priority is people, while the second is territory. I want try to find a way out of the crisis thanks to the Minsk Agreement and the Normandy Quartet,” said Zelensky.
Zelensky stressed that the Ukrainian people did not choose a president to lead them to war.
Crimea was incorporated into Russia in 2014 following a referendum in March of the same year. At the time, 96.77% of respondents said they favor Crimea’s integration with Russia.
For Russian President Vladimir Putin, the issue of Crimea is a closed affair, since its incorporation into Russia was done in accordance with the principles of international law.
The referendum was held shortly after a coup d’état took place in Ukraine. As a result, the country’s president, Viktor Yanukovich, was overthrown and a new government was established.
Since then, Ukraine has insisted that Crimea is part of its territory, but it is “temporarily occupied”.
Following the coup d’état in Ukraine, the Donetsk and Lugansk regions declared their independence unilaterally. In response, Kiev has launched a military campaign against Donetsk and Lugansk, which has already killed 13,000 people, according to the UN.
More than 7,000 women in the Ukrainian Armed Forces participated in fighting in the east of the country against militias of the self-proclaimed Donbass Republics, according to information from the country’s Ministry of Defense earlier this year.
“More than 7,000 military women were part of the warfare. Unfortunately, six military women gave their lives in defense of Ukraine,” the then Minister Stepan Poltorak said, adding that 166 were awarded for their performance during the Kiev forces’ missions in Donetsk and Lugansk.
Also according to the minister, 56,000 women currently work in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Of these, 26,000 are military and 3,500 are officers.