Sergey Aksyonov, head of the annexed Crimea, wrote on Facebook that the water blockade of the Crimean peninsula is part of the West’s anti-Russia strategy.
“Ukraine’s policy is not determined in Kyiv, but in Washington and other western capitals. The water blockade of Crimea is part of the West’s anti-Russia strategy. That’s why, regardless of the reasons given by Ukrainian officials, the decision to end or to continue the blockade will be made far from the banks of the Dnieper,” he wrote.
According to Aksyonov, “attempting to deprive more than 2 million people of fresh water is essentially a form of state terrorism”. However, the water blockade has not caused the expected damage, he added: there is no water shortage, an increase in tourism is expected, and local agriculture has adapted to the new conditions.
Aksyonov remarked that the turnover of the government in Ukraine does not guarantee an improvement in quality. “The presidents, politicians and party signboards may change, but the approaches do not,” he wrote.
Previously Aksyonov announced that the Crimean government would soon publish an assessment of the extent to which being part of Ukraine damaged Crimea. He claimed that most of the funds in the federal and regional programs are being used to “overcome the devastation inherited from Ukraine”.
In March, Vyacheslav Volodin, Chairperson of Russia’s State Duma, proposed to collect from Kyiv the damage suffered by Crimea as a result of being part of Ukraine. The Crimean government later released its preliminary results, estimating a total loss of profit of 2.5 trillion rubles (around $38 billion). The work group also estimated that the 2015 energy blockade of Crimea caused 1 billion rubles ($15 million) in damage and a further 1.5 billion rubles ($22.7 million) in lost profit.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin responded that if Moscow demands compensation for the damage, then Kyiv will ask to be compensated for “centuries of occupation”.