Ukraine declares its intention to return Crimea by military means – is it possible, how and when

What about weapons

According to Vladislav Seleznev, former adviser to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, the possibility of a military return of Crimea rests on Western arms supplies.

“In order to liberate all the occupied territories, we must receive armaments from our Western partners in commercial quantities, with the help of which we will be able to carry out counter-offensive measures of a strategic nature. After all, these are not just some point, at the level of one point, episodes on the Russian-Ukrainian front line, but a full-scale offensive.
Mikhail Podolyak <Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine - The Insider> said that the Ukrainian army received at least a thousand units of 155-caliber barrels, and this despite the fact that there were a maximum of 150 such barrels in the arsenal. We need a minimum of 300 multiple launch rocket systems, although Mr. Arestovich <a freelance adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine - The Insider> claims that 60 will already be good. We are talking about MLRS of the HIMARS class - these are missile systems that are capable of operating in the rocket artillery mode with a distance of up to 70 kilometers, plus a block of missiles is installed there that operate at a distance of up to 300 kilometers.
If we are talking about a new generation war, then the main combat operations are conducted at a distance of 100-120 kilometers. So far, we do not have such weapons, and as for missiles that are capable of firing up to 300 kilometers, this is not even a question in the framework of the negotiation process with our Western partners. Therefore, a natural question arises: when will we get it, and if we don’t get it, then what are we talking about? The deputy defense minister says that the Ukrainian army has received only 10% of the weapons promised by the West.
We see that the ratio of artillery forces and assets in the Ukrainian and Russian armies is 1:10 in favor of the Russian occupying army. This is unacceptable, and that is why the Ukrainian army is suffering such heavy losses. As for the deliveries of HIMARS, our overseas friends say that deliveries will already be in June, but we are talking, as I understand it, about the first 10 units: 60 crew members have already been trained, the first 10 units are entering combat work. The deliveries are quite modest and cannot be compared with the wishes stated by our military officials: they asked for thousands of 155-caliber guns, but they give 18, which is incomparable.

“As for the deliveries of HIMARS, our overseas friends say that deliveries will already be in June”

Now the 155th caliber is working on the front square, plus the French Caesars, plus the Czech Dana, plus a number of modifications of artillery systems. And as I understand it, some of these weapons have already been destroyed, as the fighting continues. But Arestovich said that up to 120 units of 155-caliber artillery were still working. This number is opposed by at least 1,200 152-caliber artillery pieces currently used by the Russian army.”

To the north of Crimea through Perekop

According to military expert Oleg Zhdanov, in the event that Ukraine receives the weapons promised by the West, the priority direction for the return of Crimea is to enter the peninsula from Kherson. However, as before, everything depends on the supply of weapons.

“The first to talk about this was Liz Truss and Boris Johnson back in mid-April, but then their words hung in the air. Now we will receive operational-tactical missiles as part of HIMARS and M-240 machine guns. The most important thing is to enter Crimea through Chongar and Perekop <two entrances to the peninsula from the south of Ukraine - The Insider> . To approach Chongar and Perekop, one must take Kherson. If we take Kherson, then we cut off the entrance to the Crimea, if we cut off the entrance to the Crimea, then we must damage the bridge. Having taken the Crimea, we make it an enclave - the bridge is damaged, there is no recharge, it is unlikely that they will quickly restore the crossing in order to transfer troops, and there are practically no troops in Crimea itself.
In addition, the same General Marchenko repeatedly voiced what I said: Carthage must be destroyed. If the [Kerch] bridge is damaged, then there will be no replenishment of parts, you can enter the Crimea calmly. It doesn't even need to be destroyed. There is an excellent target there - the Kerch interchange, to direct a group missile attack there, and that's it - there is no railway track, no roads, and the bridge is intact. The calculation is not only for missile systems. I think that there are things that you and I don't know about, in particular, about technology. In any case, I would not advise people now to go on vacation to the Crimea.
Of great importance is also the Antonovsky bridge, which connects Kherson and the Nikolaev region. This is the only bridge across the Dnieper in Kherson, which was built back in Soviet times. The bridge allows you to transfer weapons for an attack on Odessa or, conversely, attack Kherson. Now it is mined by both Russian and Ukrainian sides. Both sides can blow it up. We do not blow it up for obvious reasons, but the Russian side can take advantage of this. But if it is blown up, then the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station remains, where you can cross the Dnieper along the dam. The Russians cannot blow up the HPP, because they will be left without water in the Crimea. The Kakhovskaya HPP maintains the level of the Dnieper so that the North Crimean Canal works.
Antonovsky bridge

We are developing a direction from Zaporozhye to the south through Melitopol, and then we will cut off Energodar, it will be surrounded. We issue an ultimatum to the garrison - either it surrenders, or we conduct a special operation and return the nuclear plant to ourselves. Moving south, we help the grouping from Nikolaev to take Kherson.

Analysts of the Conflict Intelligence Team explained that in order to attack Crimea, Ukrainian troops need to take up positions at the borders at the time of February 23, at least. As a maximum, liberate Donetsk and Lugansk. There is no point in going to Crimea before that, they say in CIT.

To the west of Crimea from the Black Sea

Military expert Pavel Luzin does not believe that in the near future Ukraine will launch an offensive against Crimea, despite the statements of the country's authorities.

“Ukraine is also playing a diplomatic game and using psychological pressure. Their priority now is the hunt for the Black Sea Fleet. Ideally, with the proper capabilities, skill and recklessness, they can try to hit the base in Sevastopol, but they won’t reach the bridge yet. Ukraine does not need a military seizure of Crimea now - the calculation is that in the future Russia itself will surrender the peninsula. In the meantime, Ukraine is betting not so much on knocking out Russia as on reworking the Russian army, since the military potential of Russia is basically difficult to replenish or not at all.”

According to Luzin, Ukraine does not have ships to carry out a landing operation on the western coast of Crimea. His words are confirmed by CIT analysts: “If we talk about the possibility of an offensive from the west, then Ukraine does not have large landing ships, and the Russian Federation has anti-ship missiles.”


The option of returning Crimea to Ukraine through negotiations is considered by the interviewed experts to be the least likely of all. According to Major General of the Security Service of Ukraine, former Deputy Chairman of the SBU Viktor Yagun, this option was no longer considered after the atrocities in Bucha and Irpen.

“Ukraine has conceptually decided that it will not hold negotiations on the return of Crimea. Yes, it was planned to sit down at the negotiating table in Istanbul, but after Bucha there is no desire to talk about anything other than surrender. The supply of weapons is picking up, the other day we demonstrated the Harpoon complex, which destroyed another ship, and not the oldest. We have shown that we will use force to liberate our land. Macron openly said: “Yes, we want the liberation of Ukraine completely, including Crimea.” Other world leaders have said the same. So if there were any doubts, then we set them aside and will fight until we expel all the invaders.”

Former adviser to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Vladislav Seleznev recalled that when the Ukrainian side during the negotiations declared its readiness to postpone the issue of resolving the future of Crimea for a period of up to 15 years, the Russian Federation took a categorical position and refused to consider this issue in principle.

“The Russian side began to say something about denazification and demilitarization, to carry this flow, which has nothing to do with reality. Now the situation has changed, because after Bucha, Irpin and Mariupol, any mention of any negotiating platforms with the Russian Federation is perceived by Ukrainian society extremely negatively, which is logical. On the other hand, albeit by capillary methods and scale, the capabilities of the Ukrainian army are being saturated to destroy artillery, manpower and armored vehicles of the enemy.
These issues are now being resolved on the battlefield, and if the Ukrainian army soon receives the appropriate resources and goes on the counteroffensive, then the negotiating positions of the Russian Federation will be significantly weakened. The initial statements of the Russian side about demilitarization, about the need to accept new realities, about the fact that they are ready to annex the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions - these statements lose all grounds, because the Ukrainian army has the military-technical capabilities to liberate our territories from enemy, either by squeezing them out of our land, or by destroying them.”

When can the liberation of Crimea begin?

Seleznev once again stressed that the liberation of Crimea depends directly on the regularity, volume and pace of the supply of Western weapons.

“We understand that in the current conditions the support of our Western partners is extremely important, so the issue of the liberation of Crimea directly depends on the pace, volume and rhythm of supplies. With bare hands against Russian tanks... such cases of heroism happen, but it is impossible to stop a tank with bare hands, you need ammunition and weapons. The former commander of the US ground forces in Europe, retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, said a month ago that, subject to rhythmic supplies, by August the Ukrainian army could reach the state border along the Crimean line. But since there are no rhythmic deliveries, it is impossible to talk about the fact that this issue will be implemented by August.

“On the condition of rhythmic deliveries by August, the Ukrainian army could reach the state border along the line of Crimea”

In addition, time is needed to assemble personnel who will effectively use the type of weapons supplied. It is all the time, time and time, and we are sorely lacking it. At a time when we are negotiating with our Western partners on the volume of supplies, the Russian army continues to carry out covert mobilization, continues to remove equipment from long-term storage bases, which, although outdated, is still the volume that we have to deal with and destroy.”

According to Viktor Yagun, most likely, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will not attack Crimea until the autumn, since first, as CIT analysts specified to The Insider, it is necessary to liberate the “new” occupied territories and take positions on February 24th.

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