Kiev will continue to attack Crimea, promised a top official of the regime on July 25. In addition to admitting responsibility for the recent terrorist incursions, the Ukrainian authorities make clear their intention to continue targeting Russian civilians in the Crimean oblast, leaving to the Russian side no alternative other than the intensification of military responses.
The statement was made by Ukrainian defense minister Aleksey Reznikov. In an interview with CNN, he stated that he believes the attacks on Crimea, including on the Kerch Bridge, are necessary to reduce the fighting capacity of Russian forces. According to him, with these moves, Kiev could “ruin” Russian military logistics, thus obtaining a great strategic advantage for the Ukrainian armed forces on the battlefield.
Reznikov stated that what matters to Kiev is saving “Ukrainian lives”, which is why the strikes may continue. He said that the country’s forces have all the necessary military capacity to inflict various damages on Russia in Crimea and other regions. Still, he assured once again that Ukraine “will win the war”, thus criticizing the various military experts who disbelieve in any possibility of victory on the part of Kiev.
“All these targets are official targets because it will reduce their capacity to fight against us (and) will help to save the lives of Ukrainians (…) It’s normal tactics to ruin the logistic lines of your enemy to stop the options to get more ammunition, to get more fuel, to get more food, etcetera. That’s why we will use these tactics against them (…) We have capacity [to attack Russia]. We have weapons as we did with the cruiser Moskva and if they threaten us in the Black Sea, we’ll have to respond (…) We have to do it thinking about the lives of our soldiers instead of Russians. They’re using the soldiers as cannon fodder (…) It’s a war and I think that we will show to the world again that we will win this war”, he told CNN’s journalists.
Furthermore, Reznikov also vowed to retaliate against Russian attacks on Ukrainian ports in the Odessa region. As well known, these attacks were Moscow’s response to Ukrainian provocations in Crimea. Russian intelligence reported the presence of several weapons depots in the Odessa’s ports. In these depots there were the military drones with which Crimea has been bombed, thus legitimizing the high precision strikes by Moscow’s troops. Reznikov, however, ignores all these facts and says that Moscow is “fighting civilians” in Odessa. In addition, the minister also baselessly accused the Russians of various war crimes without any evidence.
“(Russia) tried to explain that it’s a response for some explosions in their territories, but they are fighting with the civilians (…) That’s why I call them looters, rapists and murderers”, he added.
In fact, there are many problems with Reznikov’s story. He “justifies” the Ukrainian crime of targeting Crimea by claiming that the oblast is relevant to Russian deployment of arms and troops in the conflict zone, which is evidently an incorrect information. Russia does not promote the militarization of Crimea, keeping its logistics supply focused on territories within the Russian continental space.
There were only a few occasions when military convoys used the Crimean Bridge and no maneuver of this kind has happened recently, which illegitimates Ukrainian rhetoric. In the same vein, Russia maintains only self-defense forces in the oblast, creating a basic system of protection for local residents, but preventing Crimean cities from becoming a new frontline.
However, the logistical issue has been used as an argument by anti-Russian forces for a long time. Earlier in July, Deputy Defense Minister Anna Maliar said that “it´s been 273 days since we carried out the first attack on the Crimean bridge in order to disrupt the logistics for the Russians” – in other words, using the “logistic” rhetoric to justify the first Ukrainian bombing of the Crimean Bridge in October.
Apparently, for Ukrainian officials, the mere fact that it is Russian infrastructure already legitimizes the attack. The military factor is not included in the strategic calculation, with civil logistics being also a “legitimate target”. These incursions failed to completely destroy the infrastructure of the Bridge, but if that happens, the biggest affected will be the civilian citizens, since there will be problems in supplying the oblast. On the other hand, Russian troops will continue to circulate freely on the land border between the zone of operation and the rest of the Federation, with virtually no military impact.
So, faced with the public threat by Ukrainians and the unlimited support given by the West to the Kiev regime, the Russians have only one alternative left: to intensify the military operations, destroying the enemy’s command centers and thus protecting Crimean citizens.