Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will keep up military pressure on Russian-occupied Crimea, he said in a video address to a security conference in Prague on Tuesday that was marred by technical glitches and a possible hack attack.
Kyiv has ramped up strikes on Russian forces in the Black Sea and Crimea, which was seized and annexed by Moscow in 2014, as Ukrainian forces press on with a nearly five-month-old counteroffensive.
In remarks affected by technical glitches, including one that intermittently modulated his voice to a higher pitch, Zelensky said the “illusion” of Russia’s domination of Crimea and the Black Sea had been shattered.
“The Russian (Black Sea) fleet is no longer able to operate in the western part of the Black Sea and is gradually fleeing from Crimea,” Zelensky said. “And this is a historic achievement.”
Ukrainian attacks in and around Crimea have included strikes on a Russian air base on the peninsula, a Black Sea Fleet command post in Sevastopol, and the only bridge linking Crimea to Russia.
The attacks have highlighted Kyiv’s growing capabilities, which also include naval drones, as Moscow continues bombarding Ukraine from afar with long-range missiles and assault drones.
“We have not yet gained full fire control over Crimea and surrounding waters, but we will,” Zelensky told a meeting of the Crimea Platform, a diplomatic initiative he launched in 2021. “This is a question of time.”
A spokesperson for the Czech parliamentary speaker said the website for the event, which brought together lawmakers from various countries, “had come under a hacking attack” but did not specify by whom.
Zelensky’s spokesman said there had been a technical glitch but did not address the apparent voice modulation. A Czech parliamentary spokesperson said the effect was only due to a “bad signal”.