REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Crimea, which is temporarily occupied by Russia, will definitely return to Ukraine.

"[Ukraine's] Kherson region [neighboring Crimea] has everything except one thing; it has no other way but to become a diamond of the Ukrainian south. And this is our task rather than our will... The Ukrainian Crimea is very close, and it will definitely return to us," Zelensky said during a visit to the city of Kherson, when presenting the development strategy for the region, as reported by an UNIAN correspondent on August 20.

Read alsoUkrainian banner on balloons launched over occupied CrimeaThe president expressed confidence that the return will happen much faster if there is a "flourishing, shining, and successful Kherson region bordering Crimea."

Russian occupation of Crimea

Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea in March 2014 after its troops had occupied the peninsula. An illegal referendum was held for Crimeans to decide on accession to Russia. De-facto Crimean authorities reported that allegedly 96.77% of the Crimean population had voted for joining Russia.

On March 18, 2014, the so-called agreement on the accession of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to Russia was signed in the Kremlin.

The West did not recognize the annexation in response to which sanctions against Russia were introduced.

Read alsoUkraine sends Russia list of illegally detained Crimean Tatars for next swapUkraine's parliament voted to designate February 20, 2014, as the official date when the temporary occupation of Crimea began.