Ukrainian Deputy Minister for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories Ihor Yaremenko says Russia's pressure on Ukraine to resume water supplies to occupied Crimea may increase, but Ukraine should not give up.
Read alsoEcologist Ievgen Khlobystov: In Crimea, water is consumed in a barbaric way. It's like pouring champagne over the gardenThe official made the comment during the international online conference, titled "Problematic issues of water supply and use of water resources in Crimea under Russian occupation" on October 21, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
"The issue of water is being further accelerated to change the information focus and shift responsibility from the occupying country to the victim country, that is, Ukraine. This is an infowar-like way to disguise their illegal actions and put the blame on Ukraine," he said at the conference, which was broadcast on YouTube by Kherson Regional State Administration.
According to Yaremenko, it's absolutely obvious that water supplies through the North Crimean Canal to the annexed peninsula is impossible until the Russian occupation is over. "I'm absolutely convinced that we must keep our stance despite any pressure from the Russian Federation, which, I also think, will be only increasing," he said.
At the same time, he is sure that water supplies via the North Crimean Canal to Crimea will be resumed immediately after the end of the occupation. The Ukrainian authorities are currently working on the issue.
Water supplies to 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 annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, Ukraine severed water supplies to the occupied peninsula.
- Water reserves in Crimea are replenished from natural runoff reservoirs and underground sources.
- Environmentalists say the regular use of water from underground sources has led to soil salinization.
- On September 7, in Simferopol, Bakhchisarai, and Simferopol districts, due to ongoing drought and shallowing of reservoirs, the third, most severe, stage of water supply restrictions was introduced.
- On the same day, an OHCHR representative said it is Russia that bears responsibility for ensuring water supplies to occupied Crimea.
- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says the resumption of water supplies to Crimea would be possible only in the context of the end of the Russian occupation. At the same time, there is no humanitarian crisis with freshwater in occupied Crimea whatsoever, the chief of Ukraine's diplomacy emphasizes. "The narrative about the 'humanitarian crisis' was invented by Russian propaganda in order to convince the world that water supplies to Crimea are necessary."