Kiev already has the resolve necessary for the assault, but is still building up its capabilities, the president says.
Ukraine is preparing an offensive to try and seize Russia’s Crimean peninsula, President Vladimir Zelensky said on Friday at a press conference. Kiev is forming new units specifically for the task, with servicemen undergoing training abroad, he revealed.
“We’re taking military steps, we are preparing for them. We are mentally prepared already. We prepare technically, with weapons, forces, we form new brigades, we form offensive units of various kinds and types, we are sending people for training not only in Ukraine, you know, but also in other countries,” Zelensky stated.
The president, as well as other top officials, has repeatedly pledged to re-capture all of the former Ukrainian territories from Russia, including Crimea. The peninsula broke away from the country back in 2014 in the aftermath of the Maidan coup in Kiev, joining Russia after a landslide referendum.
Four other formerly-Ukrainian territories, namely the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, were incorporated into Russia after the overwhelming majority of their populations voted in favor of the idea last September.
Neither reunification with Crimea, nor the latest incorporations of other regions got Western recognition, with Kiev and its backers considering these lands part of Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly warned Kiev against plotting an assault on Crimea. Early in February, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who now serves as Deputy Chair of the Security Council, said that any attack on Crimea would be interpreted as a direct attack on the country itself and would be “met with inevitable retaliation using weapons of any kind.”