Giacomo Fracassi

Croatian President stirs controversy over Crimea’s comment

Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0 hr
Milanović takes the oath of office, 18 February 2020.

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic sparked controversy with his comments that Crimea will never return to Ukraine, prompting Ukrainian foreign ministry to call his words as “unacceptable.”

Milanovic was speaking with reporters during a visit to military barracks in Petrinja, Croatia. He called Western support of Ukraine against the invasion of Russia as “deeply immoral” because in his opinion there is “no solution” that will end the war, before saying that the contested Crimean peninsula will never return to Ukraine. Milanovic added that the German tanks recently sent to Ukraine will only drive Russia closer to China.

The Croatian President is a vocal critic of Western involvement in Ukraine and since taking office in 2020 has started to take a strong anti-European Union stance, getting closer with the positions of Hungarian President Viktor Orbán. His positions are not shared by current Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who hails from centre-right party HDZ and has a more pro-European stance in foreign affairs.

During his visit, Milanovic pointed at double standards of the West regards Crimea and Kosovo. The ladder declared its independence in 2008 despite the objection of Serbia and since then has had a thorny relationship with its neighbour. Russia still does not recognize Kosovo as an independent country.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, holding a referendum that was not recognized as fair by international organizations. Since then it treated the Crimean peninsula as part of Russia, even though the most countries did not recognise the referendum and the annexation.

Explore more