Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, will never again be part of Ukraine, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said on Monday in remarks detailing his objection to Zagreb providing military aid to Kyiv.
In December, Croatian lawmakers rejected a proposal that the country join a European Union mission in support of the Ukrainian military, reflecting deep divisions between Milanovic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. Read full story
A vocal critic of Western policy in Ukraine, Milanovic has said he does not want his country, the EU’s newest member state, to face what he has called potentially disastrous consequences over the 11-month-old war in Ukraine.
What the West is doing about Ukraine “is deeply immoral because there is no solution (to the war),” Milanovic told reporters during a visit to military barracks in the eastern town of Petrinja, referring to Western military support for Kyiv.
He added that the arrival of German tanks in Ukraine would only serve to drive Russia closer to China.
“It is clear that Crimea will never again be part of Ukraine,” Milanovic added.
Will Ukraine be able to control Crimea again?
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to restore Ukrainian rule over Crimea, seized and annexed by Russia in 2014 in a move not recognized by most other countries.
Russia says a referendum held after Russian forces seized the peninsula showed Crimeans genuinely want to be part of Russia. The referendum is not recognized by most countries.
Milanovic criticized Western countries for using double standards in international politics, saying Russia would invoke what he called the international community’s “annexation of Kosovo” as an excuse for taking parts of Ukraine.
Milanovic was referring to Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008 following a 1998-1999 war in which NATO countries bombed rump-Yugoslavia, comprising Serbia and Montenegro, to protect Albanian-majority Kosovo.
“We recognized Kosovo against the will of a state (Serbia) to which Kosovo belonged,” he said, cautioning that he was not questioning Kosovo’s independence but the concept of Western double standards.
Milanovic, a Croatian former premier from the Social Democratic Party (SDP), has embraced an anti-EU stance since he took the mostly ceremonial job of president, aligning his policies with those of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Bosnian Serb secessionist leader Milorad Dodik.