Will Crimea look like Bakhmut following liberation? — military expert analysis

8 April, 02:30 PM
Banners dedicated to the occupation of Crimea in Simferopol, March 16, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Alexey Pavlishak)

Banners dedicated to the occupation of Crimea in Simferopol, March 16, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Alexey Pavlishak)

People who speak about liberating Crimea through diplomacy are simply provocateurs, Roman Svitan, a military expert and reserve colonel in the Ukrainian Armed Forces told Radio NV in an April 6 interview. 

He also explained in which cases occupied Crimea could face the same destruction as Bakhmut, Avdiyivka, and Maryinka in Donbas, which are subjected to incessant, indiscriminate Russian artillery shelling.

"Any such narrative, apart from the military liberation of Crimea, leaves millions of Russians in Crimea who will hear these narratives and act accordingly," Svitan said.

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“In the information field, the single mechanism for the liberation of the territory should sound unambiguous. There is simply no other way; only a military way to liberate Crimea. Then the Russians will make a swift decision to leave now — not later.”

Ukrainian politicians that spread information about using diplomacy to liberate Crimea are "simply provocateurs."

"Only the supreme commander can deliver a message of this level," he said.

“He alone is endowed with such authority. What do the talking heads of the President's Office allow themselves? Generally speaking, it is unclear. This person [I do not know him and do not want to know him] should at least put a [resignation letter] on the table, as [Oleksiy] Arestovych did, man up and leave the civil service. And then everything will depend on whether counterintelligence will have questions for him or not.”

In Crimea, as in the rest of occupied Ukraine, two tasks need to be fulfilled: "to destroy Russians with weapons and to deport Russians without weapons," he said.

He described how he believes the first phase of the liberation of Crimea will operate.

"We must enter [the peninsula] using long-range weapons — to burn Crimea to the range where our weapons reach. If we get ATACMS — then with ATACMS. If we still have GLSDB, then 150 kilometers, if we only have M31 remaining, then it’s 80 kilometers. If only artillery shells remain, then artillery up to 30-40 kilometers. And then enter Crimea.”

The military expert emphasized that the more long-range weapons Ukraine has, "the less Crimea will look like a lunar landscape."

"If we have insufficient means of destruction, then we will have to liberate it with the help of artillery," said Svitan.

“It will be the same as now, say, with Bakhmut, with Maryinka, with Avdiyivka. That is, it will look like the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility.”

President’s Office deputy head, Andriy Sybiha, recently told the Financial Times that Ukraine would be ready to start negotiations on Crimea when the Ukrainian Armed Forces approach the administrative border of the peninsula, but Kyiv does not rule out "the way of liberation [of Crimea] by [Ukrainian] army."

When questioned about this, Zelenskyy spokesperson Sergii Nykyforov said to focus on the words of the head of state.

Zelenskyy reiterated on Feb. 24 that negotiations with Moscow are possible only after Russian occupying forces leave Ukrainian territory and stop bombing and killing Ukrainians.

Responding to Russia’s attempt to annex captured Ukrainian territories, Zelenskyy enacted on Sept. 30, 2022, the NSDC decision that it is impossible to negotiate with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

According to the survey conducted by the Razumkov Center think tank in February-March 2023, 72% of Ukrainians do not consider negotiations with Russia to be an effective way to achieve peace.

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