Head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Donbas Leonid Kravchuk does not rule out Russia's further invasion of Ukraine over the lack of water in occupied Crimea.
"I think the issue of water for Crimea will become more acute. I think this will be one of the reasons for Russia to advance from there to Ukraine. Kherson, Mariupol – they want to somehow break through this sector to Crimea to provide it with water. This will be one of the reasons for large-scale attacks or Russia's aggressive steps. This probability exists. But they will fail to make Ukraine supply water this way," he told RFE/RL's Ukrainian service in an interview.
"Now I see they want to turn Crimea into a military base, and Crimea has already been incorporated in the system of the Russian Federation, has become one of the districts, so now Russia is responsible for everything. And Ukraine will not supply water to Crimea, because we do not know who will get this water – citizens for irrigation, military plants or someone else. Russia is responsible for everything," Kravchuk added.
Read alsoRussian invaders to "sue" Ukraine for cutting water supplies to occupied Crimea – rights groupFresh water shortage in Crimea: Background
- Prior to the occupation of Crimea by Russia, Ukraine used to cover up to 85% of the peninsula's demand for freshwater through the North Crimean Canal.
- After Russia grabbed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, Ukraine severed water supplies there.
- In 2020, the situation with water supplies in Crimea reached a critical level over droughts and shallowing of reservoirs. The occupying authorities limited the supply of water in many towns and villages.
- The Ukrainian authorities claim the resumption of water supplies to Crimea would be possible only if Russia ceases its occupation of the peninsula.
- At the same time, experts say it is technically impossible to restore water supplies to Crimea through the North Crimean Canal since it has become completely unusable over the past years.