‘Final Crushing Blow’: Putin’s Men Scramble Over Dreaded Crimean Blitz

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After a series of crushing defeats for the Russian army in Ukraine from the northeast to the south in recent weeks, Russian authorities in Moscow seem increasingly concerned that Ukraine has set its sights on retaking Crimea.

Russian MP Andrei Gurulyov on Sunday urged Moscow to assess the risk of Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization launching an attack on Crimea, which Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Mikhail Sheremet warned that Ukrainian troops will receive a “final crushing blow” if they launch an attack on Crimea.

In an apparent attempt to assuage fears that Ukraine might go after Crimea, the chairman of the Federation Council’s defense and security committee, Viktor Bondarev, warned on Monday that he doesn’t think Ukraine has the firepower to take Crimea back. to take.

“Ukraine has neither the resources nor the military power nor the support of Crimea for the promised offensive on the peninsula,” Bondarev said, adding: “‘Crimea is ours’ is not just a slogan and a hashtag. It is an unshakable reality.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his government have been warning for months that Ukraine will work to take Crimea back from Russia. And now, with losses to the Russian army mounting, the pressure is on. Russia has just fled the strategically important city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, a move that the top Ukrainian official in charge of Crimea told The Daily Beast in an exclusive interview would be an important prelude to the reconquest of Crimea .

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Putin’s ‘Hunky-Dory’ act flops as panicked Russians flee Crimea

The comments from Russian officials come after a wave of Ukrainian officials signaled over the weekend that Ukraine is preparing to kick Russia out of Crimea. Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Volodymyr Havrylov told Sky News he predicted Ukrainian troops could be in Crimea by the end of the year.

“It’s only a matter of time and of course we want to do it as soon as possible,” he said, adding that the timeline is uncertain.

His comments on the timeline echoed what the top Ukrainian official in charge of Crimea told The Daily Beast. The official, Tamila Tasheva, had said Ukraine could take back Crimea by spring or summer next year, though she said she thinks it could happen sooner. Tasheva also emphasized that the exact timeline is still to be seen.

Andriy Yermak, the head of Zelensky’s office, and Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna both indicated at the Halifax International Security Forum this weekend that a takeover plan in Crimea is in the offing, according to Politico.

Mikhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, warned Monday that a Russian retreat in Crimea, like the one Russia was supposed to order in Kherson, will soon take place.

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“Russian propagandists had an order to forget the word ‘Kherson’.” Podoljak said. “Today—forget Kherson. Tomorrow – Donetsk and Crimea. Soon – Ukraine.’

Bondarev claimed that Ukrainians are simply bluffing and making statements about Crimea in order to get more Western military aid and boost morale in the war.

“The expressed desire of the Kiev authorities to return to the territorial status quo of February 2014 is nothing more than a flirtation with their own citizens and a desire to convince them of the coming victory, an attempt to boost the morale of the armed forces of Ukraine. and throwing dust in the eyes of Western patrons in the hope of their enhanced aid,” Bondarev said.

Gurulyov also accused the Ukrainians of forging trust.

“The statements that they will go to Crimea by December are bravura, no one is announcing their offensive,” Gurulyov said.

Nevertheless, Russia is preparing a “secret” mobilization in Crimea, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Monday. The Russian-installed government in Crimea met with local authorities on Saturday to discuss what it perceived as a lack of mobilization in the Russian army, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said. The group decided to issue a call for further mobilization on Monday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said.

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The secret mission to snatch Crimea from Putin’s clutches

“In the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, measures of secret mobilization towards the ranks of the Russian occupiers are underway,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in an announcement.

According to Emil Ibragimov, the head of the educational platform Q-Hub, some citizens of Crimea take a hint and begin to flee Crimea.

And while the Russian-installed governor of Crimea has indicated that Russia is working on the defense of Crimea and that everything is fine, a Ukrainian counter-offensive, successful or not, can be quite disruptive. Some experts warn that Putin’s claim to legitimacy in Russia stems in part from the illegal annexation of Crimea, so his response to any risk of losing Crimea could be harsh. Russian officials, including deputy chairman of the Russian Defense Council Dmitry Medvedev, have threatened a doomsday response if Crimea is attacked.

Following Ukrainian attacks on Russian military bases in Crimea, Russia has begun unleashing a series of attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure and civilians, knocking out half of Ukraine’s energy system over the past week, Ukraine’s prime minister said.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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