Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the Russian armed forces' activities to develop military infrastructure in occupied Crimea are behind the lack of drinking water for the local population.

Spokesperson for the ministry Oleh Nikolenko explained this in a comment for UNIAN.

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"There are enough water resources for domestic use in Crimea. It has become a problem over its massive militarization, i.e. the development of military bases and military and industrial enterprises of the Russian Federation," Nikolenko said.

"In fact, the Russian military has jeopardized the fulfillment of the basic needs of the Crimean civilian population. This once again proves the destructive nature of the Russian Federation's policy in the Ukrainian territories occupied by it," he added.

Yet, he continued, the Russian side does not abandon attempts to shift the responsibility onto others. "Let me remind you that under international law, Russia, as an occupying state, bears responsibility for the situation on the peninsula," Nikolenko said.

"Our position is clear: the supply of Dnieper water to Crimea is possible to resume only after its demilitarization and the end of [Russian] occupation," he said.

Fresh water shortage in Crimea: Background

  • Prior to the occupation of Crimea by Russia, Ukraine used to cover up to 85% of the peninsula's needs for freshwater through the North Crimean Canal.
  • After the occupation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, Ukraine severed water supplies to the occupied peninsula.
  • 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 say the resumption of water supplies to Crimea, via the North Crimean Canal, would be possible only in the context of the end of the Russian occupation.
  • 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.