Russia is willing to consider the possibility of commercial water deliveries from mainland Ukraine to Russia-annexed Crimea, said Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, as cited by Interfax.
Davyd Arakhamia, leader of Ukraine’s Servant of the People party, had recently suggested that Ukraine supply water to Crimea in exchange for concessions in the Donbas.
However, Peskov remarked that Crimea cannot be the object of any exchanges, including concessions in negotiations on the Donbas.
He considers Crimea to be a Russian region, “whereas the matter of the Donbas is an internal Ukrainian problem. But Russia is doing all it can to facilitate its resolution”.
“If there are any suggestions regarding an additional water supply – on a commercial or other basis – they can be considered,” said Peskov.
On February 12, the Office of the President of Ukraine confirmed that Arakhamia’s suggestion is in line with President Zelensky’s personal stance.
Refat Chubarov, head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, said that it would be unacceptable to make any agreements for Ukraine to resume the fresh water supply to Russia-annexed Crimea.
In February 2014, armed people in uniforms without insignias appeared in Crimea and captured the Supreme Council of Crimea, the Simferopol Airport, the Kerch ferry crossing and other strategic objects, and prevented the Ukrainian army from taking action. Initially, the Russian government refused to acknowledge that these armed people were Russian soldiers, but President Vladimir Putin later admitted it.
On 16 March 2014, a referendum on the status of Crimea was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, in which the inhabitants supposedly voted for the peninsula to become part of Russia. The outcome of the so-called referendum is not recognized by Ukraine, the EU or the US. On 18 March, Putin announced the “annexation” of Crimea to Russia.
International organizations have declared the annexation illegal and condemned Russia’s actions. Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia in connection with the annexation. Russia claims to have “restored historical justice”. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, declared 20 February 2014 the start of Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.