US-supplied weapons will allow Kiev to win back all land lost to Russia, including Crimea, Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov said on Thursday.
“We are going to liberate all our territories, all of it, including Crimea,” Reznikov told CNN in an interview in Brussels.
According to Washington, the Kiev authorities earlier gave “assurances” they would not use American weapons to stage attacks inside Russia, as the US is concerned it could further escalate tensions between Moscow and NATO. However, Ukraine then backtracked on its promise, stating it would use US-supplied rocket systems to strike its neighbor’s territory should it deem such attacks necessary.
Crimea, which voted overwhelmingly in a 2014 referendum to reunite with Russia, “is a strategic objective for Ukraine because it’s Ukrainian territory,” Reznikov told CNN. “But we will move step by step,” he added.
The first stage in Kiev’s plan is to stabilize the situation on the ground, according to Reznikov. During the second stage, Russian forces would be pushed back to the lines they occupied before the ongoing military offensive.