Crimea has been and will always be part of Russia, the Russian defense minister said on Friday, responding to a claim by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the peninsula’s return to Kiev’s control is a “matter of time.”
Speaking to journalists in Sergey Shoigu strongly disagreed with Zelensky’s assessment that Crimea belongs to Ukraine.
“The leaders of Ukraine come and go, but Crimea has always been, is, and will be Russian,” Shoigu said.
On Tuesday, in an interview Ukrainian president, Zelensky argued that citizens of Ukraine have fond recollections associated with Crimea and the Black Sea, claiming that his fellow countrymen love the peninsula more than Russians do.
“I lived there. It is my land. It is not their land and will not be,” he said. “They will not raise their future generations here. Their children won’t live here. They won’t die for our land. It will never be Russian territory.”