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Ukraine must deny the “DNR,” “LNR,” and “Republic of Crimea” any claim to legitimacy

Occupied territories of Ukraine
Translated by: Christine Chraibi

We must not create the illusion that Ukraine can exist where there is no Ukrainian flag, Ukrainian government or Ukrainian law.

Vadym Chernysh, minister in charge of the occupied territories and internally displaced persons

The statement made by Vadym Chernysh, minister in charge of the occupied territories and internally displaced persons, on Ukraine’s future relations with the regions currently controlled by the enemy once again lays the issue of the legal status of Crimea and Donbas on the table. However, until we firmly recognize the occupied territories as actually occupied, until we understand that our mission is to complicate the invader’s daily life, until we understand that we must help our compatriots, we are doomed to live in the shadows.

To begin with, we must understand a very simple problem. The Russian invader is responsible for the occupied territories. The invader, and not the person whose money was taken away. Every ruble, which Russia now spends on the Donbas and Crimea is our contribution to its upcoming collapse. If the Russian government does NOT collapse, if the Organized Crime Syndicate currently at the head of the “Russian Federation” is NOT re-formatted into a sovereign state or a federation of different countries respected by its neighbours, not one Ukrainian – and not only Ukrainian – will feel safe and secure. If this collapse fails to happen, we will all be killed sooner or later by mortar shells. Moreover, the fact that we will die from conventional bombings while the Germans or French die from nuclear ones does not make our fate any easier or lighter.

Therefore, anyone who wants to make it easier for the aggressor is an enemy of Ukraine, an enemy of the civilized world, an enemy of his children’s future. This does not mean that we should abandon our compatriots who live in the occupied territories. No, on the contrary, we must do everything we can to alleviate their plight.

We must encourage their departure from the occupied territories to other parts of Ukraine; we must help them with housing and employment, with their children’s education and we must provide medical aid to their sick.

We must encourage young people from the occupied territories to attend Ukrainian universities and institutions, even by setting up quotas. We must draw more of their young people to serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine; we must educate the future liberators of our country.

We must build government structures in exile and  deny the “DNR,” “LNR” and “Republic of Crimea” any claim to legitimacy. At the same time, we must prosecute and punish all traitors who serve the enemy. The enemy, who not only talks rubbish on TV, but also kills, tortures and rapes… because Russian mercenaries and the security and law enforcement agencies in Donbas and Crimea kill, torture and abuse Ukrainian patriots with the tacit – or loud – approval of the degraded society of our criminal neighbour.

We must not create the illusion that Ukraine can exist where there is no Ukrainian flag, Ukrainian government or Ukrainian law. Today, there is no Ukraine in Donetsk, Luhansk and Simferopol, and there cannot be a Ukraine until all these regions have been liberated. All Ukrainian citizens residing in these territories must understand this undeniable fact just as clearly and comprehensively as we – the inhabitants of a free Ukraine – understand it.

Translated by: Christine Chraibi
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