Ukraine's new PM rolls back on his statement on water supplies to Crimea

09:00, 06 March 2020
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Denys Shmyhal / Photo from UNIAN

"Panel show format is not the best one for discussing complex issues. For example, the issue of water supply to Crimea," Smyhal wrote on Facebook overnight Friday, March 6, amid backlash in social networks following his statement, picked up by most major news outlets in Ukraine, approving resumption of water supplies to Crimea for humanitarian purposes.

"Once again, I'd like to emphasize that the government doesn't forget about Ukrainians living in the territory of the temporarily occupied Ukrainian Crimea. We want to help these people. We want them to feel that we care about them. In fact, for technical reasons, it's impossible to divide water flowing to people and water flowing to military bases," the newly appointed prime minister noted.

"This message was lost in the noise of the studio," he added.

Ukraine's position "remains unchanged", the Cabinet chief said, "we would like to supply water to our citizens, but we can't and don't have technical opportunity to do so until the peninsula is deoccupied and returned to Ukraine."

Read alsoLeading party faction chief apologizes over "freshwater for Crimea" statement

Speaking at a panel show Thursday night, Shmyhal said the issue of supplying water to occupied Crimea "is not a matter of trade with the occupying state, it is not a matter of a certain business – it is a matter of humanitarian responsibility before people who live in Crimea."

Shmyhal emphasized that "the lack of water there will lead to a humanitarian disaster."

Earlier, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, said "we can't supply water" to Crimea while the peninsula is occupied by the Russian Federation.

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