Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal does not rule out the possibility of supplying drinking water from the mainland of Ukraine to Russia-occupied Crimea in the event of, as he put it, a "humanitarian disaster" on the peninsula.
"If necessary to provide people with water, if there is a humanitarian disaster, of course, Ukraine will provide Ukrainians – somewhere in Crimea or elsewhere – with water and with everything they need, medicines, food and so on," Shmyhal said in an interview for Radio Svoboda's Ukrainian service.
Yet, he added, Ukraine will not supply water to "the occupation forces, for the needs of military bases." "It's impossible," he said.
According to him, it is technically impossible at the moment to supply water from the Dnipro River to Russia-occupied Crimea.
"The Crimean Canal is closed, and journalists have conducted more than one investigation that it is impossible today to supply water to Crimea using the existing infrastructure. It is necessary to invest funds, to repair this infrastructure," he said.
Speaking at a press conference in Kyiv on June 11, Shmyhal said that the issue of resuming the supply of fresh water to Crimea was not on the Ukrainian agenda. Prior to that, on March 5, Shmyhal claimed that his Cabinet "would not cut off the water for Ukrainians in Crimea" and said that the failure to supply water "would lead to a humanitarian disaster."
Later, he wrote on Facebook that the Ukrainian authorities could not supply water to Crimea until the end of the peninsula's occupation, because "it is technically impossible to split water for households and for [Russia's] military bases."