Ukraine’s troops have landed in Crimea, a region held by Russia, coinciding with their Independence Day. However, Russia disputes this claim, stating that they repelled the attack. While these events are unfolding, President Volodymr Zelensky of Ukraine is observing a subdued Independence Day celebration in his country. This day also marks the remembrance of those who lost their lives in the conflict that has spanned 18 months.
This operation, which is yet to be confirmed by international media, demonstrates Ukraine’s ability to carry out ground maneuvers in Crimea. This region was annexed by Russia in 2014.
A short and enigmatic video released alongside the announcement reveals a small motorboat navigating the waters near the shoreline at night.
The landing took place on the western tip of Crimea, near Olenivka and Mayak communities. Ukrainian special forces successfully entered Crimea. President Zelensky addressed his nation, saying, “Happy Ukrainian Independence Day! The day of freedom, strength, and dignity. The day of equality. In this struggle, every individual matters, as it is a fight for something crucial to all—a self-reliant Ukraine.”
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The Ukrainian military reported, “Special units arrived on the shore in the Olenivka and Mayak areas.” While they confirmed the completion of objectives and causing losses to the opponent, they refrained from detailing these objectives.
The statement also mentioned, “Moreover, the state flag is once again flying in Ukrainian Crimea.” Specifics about the locations or details were omitted.
Russia has not responded to this report, which aligns with Ukraine’s Independence Day celebration. Despite Ukrainian President Zelenskiy’s commitment to regaining control of Crimea from Russia, there is no sign that Russia is willing to give up the peninsula.
In 2021, Zelenskyy reiterated his determination to reclaim Crimea and sought help from international allies. During an August 2021 address at the Crimean Platform event in Kyiv, aimed at drawing global attention to Russia’s 2014 annexation, Zelenskyy emphasized Ukraine’s intention to use “all possible political, legal, and primarily diplomatic methods” to achieve this goal.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 was widely condemned as unlawful, straining its relations with Western nations to levels reminiscent of the Cold War.
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Zelenskyy stated in 2021, “I will personally do everything I can to bring Crimea back, so it can become a part of Europe alongside Ukraine.”
Natalia Koval, a 59-year-old resident of Kyiv, expressed confidence that Ukraine would eventually overcome Russia. She said, “Our nation will celebrate. Perhaps not immediately, but the moment will arrive, and this triumph will belong not just to us, but to the entire world.”