Head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Donbas Leonid Kravchuk says Ukraine may consider the possibility of supplying water to Russia-occupied Crimea only in case of a humanitarian disaster.
"I have always emphasized that water should be given not just in case but in case of a humanitarian disaster in Crimea over water, which I wouldn't like to happen... Therefore, the issue of water may be separately considered in case of a humanitarian disaster, but not in case 'give us water because Russia wants this,'" he told the Dom TV channel.
The Ukrainian envoy says Russia, as an occupying state, bears full responsibility for Crimea, including in providing the population with water.
"I see it from the point of view of international law – a country that has occupied a territory is fully responsible for the lives of people in that territory; for the policy it pursues there, for the wellbeing of the people. This is the responsibility of the occupying authorities, not Ukraine," he added.
Read alsoPresident's Office publishes text of Crimea de-occupation strategyFresh water shortage in Crimea: Background
- Prior to the occupation of Crimea by Russia, Ukraine used to cover up to 85% of the peninsula's demand for freshwater through the North Crimean Canal.
- After Russia grabbed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, Ukraine severed water supplies there.
- In 2020, the situation with the availability of water in Crimea reached a critical level over droughts and shallowing of reservoirs. The occupying authorities limited the use of water in many towns and villages.
- The Ukrainian authorities claim the resumption of water supplies to Crimea would be possible only if Russia ceases its occupation of the peninsula.
- At the same time, experts say it is technically impossible to restore water delivery to Crimea through the North Crimean Canal since it has become completely unusable over the past years.