Ukraine to kickstart ‘decisive’ push to liberate Crimea
Ukraine can recapture the prized annexed peninsula of Crimea from Russia within months as Vladimir Putin sees his “vulnerable” troops forced onto the backfoot, a retired US Army Lieutenant General has claimed. Putin was hit by a devastating blow on October 8 when the Kerch Bridge between Crimea and Russia was rocked by a huge explosion that saw parts of the structure collapse. Crimea is home to Russia‘s Black Sea Fleet and numerous military airports and bases, and is also critical for operational and logistical support of Russia‘s southern front in Ukraine. Putin blamed Kyiv and called it a “terrorist attack”.
But retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the former Commanding General of the US Army Europe, has explained how Volodymyr Zelensky’s forces can inflict a “decisive” blow that would go a long way to recapturing Crimea.
“You will see a significant move that will help isolate Crimea, which is the decisive terrain. Once they can get Crimea, then the other stuff can wait and will follow. A decisive stroke would be to isolate Crimea.”
Lieutenant General Hodges is confident Ukraine can recapture Crimea by the end of August and by attacking critical Russian infrastructure around the peninsula, Kyiv will “hamstring Russia‘s ability to do anything”.
Ukraine can recapture Crimea by the end of August, according to Lieutenant General Hodges
A huge explosion rocked the bridge linking Crimea to Russia in October
The retired US Army officer continued: “Ukraine could recapture Crimea by the end of August.
“There are two routes connecting Crimea to the mainland and if you could sever those with long-range fire, then Crimea looks increasingly like a trap.
“You can then start hitting the very vulnerable Russian infrastructure on the Crimean peninsula. By going after Russian headquarters and infrastructure, that will neutralise the Russian advantage.
The massive explosion saw parts of the bridge collapse into the sea
When asked how he believes the next few months in the war will pan out, Lieutenant General Hodges replied: “Ukraine will launch an attack led by armoured forces to isolate Crimea.
“If they get what they need in terms of long-range weapons and if they are able to put together enough armoured formations – both Ukrainian, captured Russians and Western – they will have the combat power to overwhelm what I see as mostly long lines of trenches filled with unhappy, poorly led, recently mobilised soldiers.”
Meanwhile, Colonel Richard Kemp, a retired who served for nearly 30 years in the British Army, has warned Putin could be hit by a Russian coup and faces a “very bleak future” if he doesn’t score a “significant” war victory soon.
The Russian President could ramp up his efforts to win the war as the first anniversary of the conflict, with reports he could be preparing to mobilise 500,000 troops into battle.
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A smaller mobilisation in September failed miserably as thousands of Russians attempted to flee the country – the strongest sign yet even his own people are turning against him over the war.
Colonel Kemp told Express.co.uk: “There is still fighting between Russia and Ukraine on all fronts but at the moment there is relative inactivity as both sides are preparing major offensives in the coming weeks, and possibly months.
“We have Putin mobilising his forces, getting ready to send them into Ukraine – some are already there to give him a much-needed significant boost than he has had up until now to try and smash the Ukrainian army.
“This could be Putin’s last roll of the dice. The Ukrainians have taken a huge hit, but of course so has Putin.
“We all know things didn’t work out how we expected or how he conditioned the Russian people to expect, so he has to have a significant victory in the early part of this year if he can achieve it.”
The huge explosion on the Kerch Bridge heavily impacted Russia’s supply routes
But Colonel Kemp warned failure to achieve such a victory could prove disastrous for Putin and set in motion a plan to oust the Russian President from power.
He continued: “If Putin can’t achieve that significant victory, it could be a very bleak future for him with the possibility of some kind of coup in Russia against him. He will be very mindful of that possibility.
“Putin remains in a very strong position and still has huge popularity within Russia, despite this war. But we have also seen rumblings from some of the elites within Russia, for example from the head of the Wagner Group.
“The prospects of a popular Russian uprising against Putin are pretty low but the prospect of someone of significance in Moscow or a significant number of people deciding to move against him is possible.”
*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.