Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says those who gave up Crimea in 2014 without a fight must be held accountable.

"Those who gave up Crimea without a fight must be held accountable," he told members of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, during an annual State of the Nation Address on October 20, an UNIAN correspondent reported.

He says this is a matter of justice rather than revenge.

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"We are building a Ukrainian army that can defend Ukraine on land, at sea, in the air and cyberspace. So that no one could ever think they could encroach on our sovereignty, territorial integrity or take away part of Ukraine's territory without firing a single shot. This will never happen," he added.

Read alsoU.S. Embassy in Kyiv calls on Russia to stop conscription campaign in occupied CrimeaRussian occupation of Crimea: Background

  • 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.