In the spring and summer 2021, Russia has increased its military contingent in the occupied Crimea, says the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense (GUR), Kyrylo Budanov.
That’s according to the agency’s post on Facebook, Ukrinform reports.
Commenting to the Ukrainian Center for Security and Cooperation on the Militarization of Crimea by Russia, Budanov said: “For the eighth consecutive year, Ukraine has been deterring Russian aggression. We are recording the pulling of Russian troops and weapons to our borders and to the occupied territories of the east and Crimea."
According to the head of the military intelligence agency, "from the first days of the occupation, the Kremlin has turned the Crimean peninsula into a military base to control of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, carry out provocations and threaten the entire Black Sea coast, including that of Ukraine and our NATO allies. We’re observing this threat to Ukraine and the whole of Europe grow every day."
There is a phrase in the Ukrainian language: ‘unpunished evil grows.’ This is exactly what happened to Nazi Germany almost 100 years ago, and today we are witnessing the same scenario with the Russian Federation. The Crimea Platform is the first step in international diplomatic pressure. It will be followed by others. We are ready to fight until complete deoccupation of the Crimean peninsula. Crimea will be liberated and criminals – punished. We will do everything possible and impossible," Budanov said.
According to the intelligence chief, since the onset of the occupation of the peninsula, "Russia has been increasing its military contingent in Crimea almost every year, turning a former resort and prosperous location into a military fortress. It is clear that this was the main goal of Crimea occupation as due to its benefitial location, the peninsula allows Russia to have significant advantages and the ability to influence the countries of the Black Sea region and ‘dictate rules’ in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. In addition, Moscow uses the peninsula as a base to ensure Russian military presence in Syria. "
The real reasons behind the occupation are already clear to the residents of the peninsula, too, who "share their thoughts on social networks and grow nostalgic for the Ukrainian Crimea," the GUR chief noted.
As Ukrinform reported, on August 23, Kyiv hosted the inaugural Summit of the Crimea Platform, a new consultation and coordination format initiated by Ukraine to increase the effectiveness of the international response to the temporary occupation of Crimea, raise international pressure on Russia, and achieve the main goal of ensuring the end to the occupation of Crimea and having Ukraine regain control of the peninsula.
In a joint declaration, the Platform participants reaffirmed their support for Ukraine's territorial integrity, condemned the temporary occupation of Crimea, the ongoing militarization of the peninsula, violations of human rights and freedom of navigation in the region, and called for Russia’s constructive participation in the format.
Photo: Getty Images