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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says no effective negotiating platform has been created in six years that would help return the peninsula under Ukrainian control.

"I say frankly that I do not think there is a powerful platform where this issue would be raised. I believe that such a platform has not existed for six years. Apart from the sanctions, for which I am grateful to our partners and which we are discussing with them. They are continued," he told Euronews in an interview, as reported by the presidential press service.

According to Zelensky, the situation with Crimea is more complicated than with Donbas.

Read alsoZelensky on Donbas talks: Direct dialogue with Putin must continueHe added he had raised the "Crimean issue" in the Normandy format talks, but Russia had refused to discuss it.

"But Crimea is our territory, we will return it," Zelensky said.

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.
  • Ukraine's parliament voted to designate February 20, 2014, as the official date when the temporary occupation of Crimea began.