NewsCrimea tensions rise as Ukrainians target vital military sites

Crimea tensions rise as Ukrainians target vital military sites

Attack in Crimea. People panicked.
Attack in Crimea. People panicked.
Images source: © Telegram
Tomasz Waleński

27 June 2024 18:06

Russians cannot expect a peaceful holiday this year on the Crimean Peninsula, which they occupy. Ukrainians aim to disrupt the occupiers' holiday once again, this time with a more necessary arsenal at their disposal. "A success for the Ukrainians would be destroying the Crimean Bridge. That would indeed harm the Russians," comments Gen. Roman Polko in an interview with Wirtualna Polska.

Recently, recordings from the beach on the peninsula have emerged, showing missile debris falling there. People lounging on the beach panicked. As Kremlin media reported, five people were said to have died in the attack. Russia, of course, blamed Ukraine for the attack. According to Moscow, ATACMS missiles supplied by the USA were used for the strike. In this context, the Kremlin also shifted part of the blame onto Americans.

However, photos of missile debris emerging online contradict the Kremlin's narrative and point to the Russians themselves. It is a fact, though, that Ukrainians continue to attack military targets on the peninsula, such as the Balbek base or the air defence systems deployed in Crimea.

Reports from Crimea have dominated recent updates about the frontline situation. So, can we see all attacks on the peninsula as something groundbreaking? However, general Roman Polko, former commander of the GROM unit, tempers expectations in an interview with Wirtualna Polska. "In reality, there is a stalemate on the front," he assesses, noting that it is essential to remember that Crimea is Ukrainian.

Key to destroying the Crimean Bridge

"A success for Ukraine would be destroying the Crimean Bridge and cutting off the land route to the peninsula," says Gen. Polko. "Then, indeed, the forces there, which are still being supplied directly from Russia, would be cut off. They pose a threat both to the south and in the regions of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov," points out the military official.

Attacks in Crimea and the summer counteroffensive

In recent days, the American Institute for the Study of War has also reported that Russia has intensified its activities in the Donbas region, which may indicate the start of their summer counteroffensive. So, does Crimea serve as a kind of smoke screen to divert attention from what is happening on the front?

"We have various announcements, but very little is happening in this regard," assesses Gen. Polko. "There is no such perspective that a specific offensive by either side could be realised in the coming months," he says, estimating that this state could continue for at least another year.

According to Gen. Polko, no significant changes will occur at the front during the summer. "The chance for a breakthrough is what Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi (former chief commander of the Ukrainian army, now ambassador of Ukraine to London - ed.) mentioned. He highlighted the need for qualitative outfitting of Ukrainian units - with missiles, aviation, and strike systems that will give Ukraine an advantage in the war. This is currently not visible," underscores the Wirtualna Polska interviewee.

The mentioned supplies are still lacking. Unblocking aid from the USA and delivering items like ATACMS missiles do not solve all of Kyiv's problems. "Russia is still using cannon fodder, utilising missiles obtained from North Korea. What is curious is that North Korea has more missiles and artillery ammunition than Europe produces," the former GROM commander assesses.

"Light in the tunnel"

Gen. Polko does see a "light in the tunnel." He notes that Western aid to Ukraine must increase, but he also believes there can be talk of increased engagement in deliveries from Europe.

"I see a light in the tunnel. European mills have shown in many aspects that they grind slowly, but once they get going, they can grind effectively," he summarises.

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