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The role of Crimea in war for Ukraine – as both sides weigh up battle

The Ukrainian battleground victories in the liberation of Kherson continue, but the spotlight now falls on the question of Crimea.

Over the past few days, a number of Russian politicians discussed a possible attack against Kremlin positions at the key peninsula.

These include Viktor Bondarev declaring that Ukraine does not have the military resources nor the potential to retake Crimea and Andrei Gurulyov, a Russian MP, urging Moscow to consider the possibility of an attack by NATO.

Mikhail Sheremet, a Russian MP, warned that Ukrainian troops would be dealt a “final crushing hit” if they launched a major offensive against Crimea.

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Moscow does not want regime change – Ukraine war live update

The strategically important Black Sea territory was once the crown jewel of the Russian Empire. It has a long and proud history. In fact, it stood up against the Nazis in World War II, and was annexed by Vladimir Putin in 2014.

In February, Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zeleskyy was cautious about expressing his ambitions publicly.

Read more about Russia

As the war progresses and Ukrainian troops win more battle victories, he is becoming clearer: Crimea belongs to Ukraine and his armed forces will take it back.

Sky News was informed by Volodymyr Havrylov, Ukrainian deputy defense minister, that Ukrainian forces could return to Crimea by December and that the war with Russia will end by the spring.

He stated that the capture of Crimea was only a matter time, and suggested that this could be helped with what is called a “black Swan” event – an unpredictable event occurring in Russia such as the sudden fall of the Putin regime.

There was also a “military option” with some type of combination of resources, forces, and other things.

“We can, for instance, step in Crimea by the end December. Possible, possible. It is not impossible that it be so,” he said.

Image Vladimir Putin addresses a crowd in Moscow in support of the annexation Ukraine’s Crimea to Russia for 2014


What is the likelihood of Ukraine taking Crimea by force?

Crimea is an important part of Russia’s past, and Russia never believed Crimea wasn’t Russian, retired air-vice Marshal Sean Bell said to Sky News.

He said that defensive positions from the Second World War, when the territory was held against Nazi forces, make it a difficult military objective.

He said, “Those defensive positions remain in place today.”

“So, most military perspectives, including those of the US, are not optimistic that Ukraine will ever take back Crimea militarily.

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Russia wants Kyiv’s regime to change?

He said that Ukraine’s current advantage in the war was due to the fuelled Western weapons, which are not available in unlimited quantities.

“But the real question is, does Zelenskyy continue to grind away, potentially losing tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of his people in an vain attempt to take Crimea. Which he most likely would never do?” He said.

“Or is there an age when he has to be a great statesman and make difficult compromises to preserve his country but lose some territory? In return, he could potentially get Western support to rebuild his country and provide the security he so desperately requires?”

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