A Russian airbase in Crimea was targeted in a drone attack last week by Ukraine, which showed a willingness by Kyiv to strike the peninsula to neutralize Russia’s air capabilities during its war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has identified Crimea as his army’s main goal and vowed to reclaim the peninsula. Dark smoke could be seen rising from the airfield at Gvardeyskoye, which is where the Kremlin houses Sukhoi Su-24M aircraft that have been active in the conflict.
Tass, the Russian state-run news agency, reported that authorities said one drone, a Ukrainian Tu-141, was used in the attack and fell into an open field, causing no damage and no injuries.
The Financial Times reported that officials in Kyiv said a rail shipment of Russian Kalibr cruise missiles was hit in Dzhankoy, but, in line with its policy, did not take credit for the strike.
“This is part of the processes that will take place before the demilitarization and de-occupation of both the Crimean peninsula and all the occupied territories of Ukraine,” Andriy Yusov, a Ukrainian military intelligence officer, told the FT.
Russia has said it will use all of its defensive capabilities to defend Crimea because its Black Sea fleet’s home port is in Sevastopol, which is fortified by S400 surface-to-air missiles and the Bastion coastal defense system. Russia has warned that if its existence is at stake, it is willing to go nuclear.
TRENDPOST: Russia did not attack Crimea in 2014. The Russian military already had a presence there. Under a lease agreement (which did not expire until 2047), negotiated when Russia granted independence to Ukraine, its Black Sea Fleet is based at Sevastopol port in Crimea.
Furthermore, Crimea would likely still be a part of Ukraine if the U.S. had not orchestrated a coup to overthrow the government of the democratically elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. (See “WASHINGTON IS DRIVING THE WORLD TO THE FINAL WAR,” 28 Apr 2014.)
It was Crimeans who voted overwhelmingly—by 95 percent—to rejoin Russia, but it is internationally recognized as Ukrainian territory. The Kremlin sees Crimea as theirs.
Crimea had been part of Ukraine only since 1954, when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian, designated it as such. In fact, Crimea has been part of Russia longer than the United States has been a country.
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported extensively on how Crimea has emerged as the top prize for Kyiv even though the Biden administration has been cagey about its support. (See “ARROGANT WARMONGERING MILITARY OFFICERS OFFER ADVICE ON HOW TO RETAKE CRIMEA, DESTROY RUSSIA” 7 Mar 2023, “TARGET CRIMEA: ZELENSKY READY TO CROSS THE RED LINE” 28 Feb 2023 and “U.S. UNDER SEC. VICTORIA ‘FUCK THE EU’ NULAND CALLS CRIMEA A LEGITIMATE TARGET FOR UKRAINE, ANGERS KREMLIN” 21 Feb 2023.)
Andriy Zagorodnyuk, a former Ukrainian defense minister, told the FT that Crimea needs to be neutralized.
“It must be reduced, it must be attacked,” he said.
The paper noted that officials in Kyiv have become bolder when speaking publicly about Crimea after the U.S. gave the green light to target the peninsula.
Victoria “Fuck the EU” Nuland, the U.S. under-secretary of state, told a Carnegie Endowment event last month that there are mass military installations on Crimea that Russia has “turned into essential logistics and back-office depots in this war.”
“Those are legitimate targets,” she said. “Ukraine is hitting them and we are supporting that.”
The FT noted that she was asked if the U.S. goals were the same as Ukraine’s vis-à-vis Crimea, and she said, “In this next phase in terms of what the Ukrainians want to do on the battlefield and what we are enabling them to do, yes.”
Nuland said Washington believes Kyiv is “owed and due all of their territory within their international borders,” which she said included Crimea. “Ukraine is not going to be safe unless Crimea is—at a minimum, at a minimum—demilitarized,” she said.
The Russian Embassy in Washington used Nuland’s comments as evidence that the U.S. is “directly involved in the conflict,” RT, the Russian news outlet, reported. The embassy said Nuland’s comments show that Washington is taking “concrete actions” in the war.
There are reports out of Crimea, which is a base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, claiming Russia is bolstering its forces in Crimea to prepare for a spring offensive.
Our readers know that Kyiv is completely dependent on the U.S. for support and is careful to make sure the messaging has Washington’s blessing. (See “WHITE HOUSE GAVE PUBLIC GREEN LIGHT TO UKRAINE TO BOMB CRIMEA BRIDGE, DID BRITAIN PLOT ATTACK?” 11 Oct 2022.)
Phillip Karber, a U.S. military strategist, told the FT that Crimea is a “target-rich environment” that would have a “strategic impact” and said an onslaught of drones and missile strikes through a span of several days could render the peninsula “worthless as a military position.”