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the two reasons that move Zelensky to multiply his attacks on the peninsula

The Crimean peninsula has become increasingly vulnerable for Russia because the Ukrainian army has in recent months intensified its attacks against that territory usurped by Moscow in 2014. President Zelensky’s ultimate objective is none other than regain sovereignty of Crimea and although military analysts still see that goal as distant, they do agree on the strategic importance of the recent attacks against the peninsula.

“Crimea has always been a fundamental issue for the development of the war, both to decide its end and to later negotiate peace,” a military strategist from the Spanish Army tells this newspaper. “In the last two months we have seen many more attacks by Ukraine and, above all, more diversified because it has used drones, cruise missiles, naval drones and even special operations raids. Ukraine is aware that Crimea is very sensitive for Russia and he knows that any attack against that territory does a lot of damage. “He is forcing Moscow to realize that Crimea is a weak point,” he adds.

“We have seen more attacks from Ukraine and more diversified because they have used drones, cruise missiles, naval drones and even special operations raids.”

Admiral in reserve Juan Rodríguez Garat emphasizes this approach: “Until recently, Ukraine did not even recognize the attacks against Russian territory, but it has now taken off its mask and is carrying out a wide campaign of attacks intended to make the Russians see that they too are at war. And that includes Crimea, whose inhabitants are mostly Russian or pro-Russian, because the pro-Ukraine population has been deported since Russia invaded the peninsula in 2014.”

“The attacks against Crimea have a dual purpose. On the one hand, make Crimeans feel that they are not safe and, on the other, hinder the logistics of the Russian army. The peninsula is a rear area for Russian forces fighting in southern Ukraine and, therefore, there are many military installations there, from logistical bases, such as explosives or fuel depots; to air defense installations, airports and ports,” says Garat.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky awards medals for the heroism of his soldiers during his visit to the battle line in Bakhmut.

“Ukraine is launching in-depth attacks against Crimea that try to destroy bases, fuel depots, ammunition depots… they seek to increasingly limit the possibility that Russia uses the peninsula as a logistics base for their operations in southern Ukraine,” agrees the strategist of the Defense General Staff.

It also ensures that the attacks try to reduce the operability of Russian warships: “Russia has the large base of its Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol and Ukraine is trying to increasingly enclose its ability to navigate to limit its operations, but also to facilitate its own grain exports and be able to ship wheat and cereals from safely by sea.”

The recent taking over oil platforms in the black sea known as Boyko Towers: “They are points from where the Ukrainians can send drones or surveillance and attack ships.”

The reconquest of Ukraine will be by land

Despite the increase in recurrent attacks against Crimea, analysts see very difficult for kyiv to recover the peninsula, At least in the short term. “It is still a very distant objective for Ukraine and, in any case, the reconquest of Crimea would not be a large amphibious operation by sea, but would have to be done by land through the isthmus that connects it to the continent. At the moment, it is much more It is feasible for Ukraine to liberate the provinces of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson and some territories of Donbas,” explains Garat.

“The Ukrainian navy has mainly light ships and its amphibious capacity is quite limited. Launch a large amphibious operation, with all the umbrella of anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles that the Russians have in Crimea, it would be practically impossible. To occupy Crimea, Ukraine would first have to break the front into Ukrainian territory and reach the borders of Crimea with a ground force,” shares the military analyst.

He also emphasizes that “the Russians have greatly fortified the isthmus” that connects Crimea with the continent, although he maintains that this narrow strip of land is a weak point for both armies: “Almost the entire isthmus is sea or swampy area and It can only be crossed at two or three points. It is difficult for the Ukrainians to enter Crimea, but it is also easy for them to block the isthmus and prevent the Russians from using the peninsula to supply their troops in southern Ukraine. “They simply have to disable the bridges that they have already attacked.”

Garat, however, understands that despite the progress of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the liberation of all its territory It is going to be very complicated: “It will be very difficult for Ukraine to move beyond the borders prior to February 24 of last year, it will be very difficult for it to recover all of Donbas and Crimea.”

Furthermore, he affirms that liberating cities like Kherson, where the majority of the population is Ukrainian, is not the same as liberating Crimean cities, with a Russian population: “Russia is not going to withdraw as it did in Kherson and, if it resists, would force Ukraine to take the cities by conquest, which means razing the city as Russia did in Mariupol and Bakhmut. “I don’t see Ukraine being able to do that and neither would the international community allow it.”

“The large cities of Crimea and Donbas, which have been occupied by Russia for 9 years and are inhabited by pro-Russians, could not recover without there being a prior political agreementwhich is impossible as long as Putin is in power,” concludes Garat.

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