Ukrainian government warns only return to 1991 border will bring peace

Ukrainian servicemen fire a mortar on a front line in Zaporizhzhia region (REUTERS)
Ukrainian servicemen fire a mortar on a front line in Zaporizhzhia region (REUTERS)

There will only be “peace” in Ukraine if the country’s 1991 borders are restored, a senior government official has warned.

Andriy Yermak, head of President Zelensky’s presidential administration, said: “There will be peace when we destroy the Russian army in Ukraine and reach the borders of 1991.”

Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and Moscow has recognised self-proclaimed republics in Luhansk and Donetsk in the Donbas area of eastern Ukraine.

Those two regions and Crimea were part of Ukraine when it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and continue to be recognised by the United Nations as part of the country.

Moscow has also annexed two further regions, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, but has been losing territory to the Ukrainian army which has recently retaken the city of Kherson.

Mr Yermak’s remarks follow repeated promises by President Zelensky that he will not compromise on his country’s “territorial integrity”.

A woman wears a scarf with
A woman wears a scarf with

It comes as a senior Pentagon offical warned that a surge in Russian missile strikes are partly designed to exhaust Ukraine‘s air defenses, something Moscow hopes would allow its forces to achieve dominance of the skies above the country.

“They’re really trying to overwhelm and exhaust Ukrainian air defense systems,” Colin Kahl, under secretary of defense for policy, told reporters during a trip to the Middle East.

“We know what the Russian theory of victory is, and we’re committed to making sure that’s not going to work by making sure that the Ukrainians get what they need to keep their air defenses viable.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a £50 million package of defence aid during his visit to Kyiv including anti-aircraft guns and technology such as radar to counter drone attacks.