Blinken: Ukraine likely to regain territory through mix of diplomatic, military action

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Ukraine will likely regain its territory through a mix of military and diplomatic means, France24 reported on March 24.

"I think there's going to be territory in Ukraine that the Ukrainians are determined to fight for on the ground; there may be territory that they decide that they'll have to try to get back in other ways," Blinken said.

According to France24, he was responding to a question from Republican Chris Stewart as to whether the U.S. would back Ukraine's efforts to reclaim Crimea.

Crimea has been under Russian occupation since 2014 following a fake referendum staged by Russia to annex the territory. Since then, Russia has relocated both its civilians and military personnel there, imprisoned locals who stood up against the occupation, and turned the peninsula into a military base from which it launches attacks on Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion to return all of Ukraine's territory, including Crimea.

Blinken responded that, "these have to be Ukrainian decisions about what they want their future to be and how that lands in terms of the sovereignty, the territorial integrity the independence of the country."

On Feb. 18, retired U.S. General Ben Hodges, who commanded U.S. troops in Europe, told the publication Ukrinform that Ukraine has a realistic chance to liberate Russian-occupied Crimea by the end of the summer if it gets long-range missiles.