In a leaked Zoom call with officials, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that losing Crimea is a “red line” for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, The Hill reported on Aug. 17.
However, the United States thinks that Ukraine liberating the peninsula is not a realistic or even “worthwhile” goal.
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Foreign journalists share these doubts. As per their analysis, to isolate Crimea, Ukraine’s counteroffensive needs to advance towards Melitopol (Zaporizhzhya Oblast), Armyansk, or Skadovsk. These vectors of attack were hindered after Russia blew up the Kakhovka HEP dam in June. At the same time, recently Ukrainian troops managed to make a successful incursion across the Dnipro River.
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Before controlling Melitopol, Ukrainian military forces would still need to liberate Tokmak, currently surrounded by an elaborate system of Russian trenches, minefields, and barricades. Furthermore, Russia currently has over 90,000 troops stationed there.
“Whatever Putin says about protecting the Russian-speakers of Luhansk and Donetsk, his current priority is to hold onto Crimea,” the article says.
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“Russian offensives in northern Ukraine, and threats from Wagner mercenaries in Belarus, are diversions. In the center, Bakhmut offers little tactical advantage for either side.”
The journalists conclude by saying that even Ukraine threatens Crimea enough to force Putin to negotiate, it would be merely a delaying tactic, as his long-term goals will “never change” as long as he stays in power.
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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine