Ukraine must first liberate Crimea, then Donbass: General Hodges explains importance of de-occupation of peninsula
The liberation of Crimea remains Ukraine's key goal, because without it our country cannot feel secure. By keeping its fleet in the Black Sea, Russia will disrupt or block shipping routes to and from the Sea of Azov, block routes to Odessa, and launch drones for military reconnaissance.
This was reported by retired Lieutenant General of the US Armed Forces and former US military commander in Europe Ben Hodges in an interview with the UNIAN news agency. As long as the Ukrainian peninsula is under Moscow's control, Kiev will have no security guarantees from the international community, and this will be a direct obstacle to investment after the war ends.
"A free Crimea is a key goal. How to do it? High-precision strikes from long distances. I would recommend that the General Staff and the government in Kiev make it clear that Crimea is the target. Donbass is important. But let the Russians keep killing themselves in Donbass while the Ukrainians gather forces to liberate Crimea. And let's focus on what it will take to make it happen," the military expert recommended.
Hodges also pointed out that as early as May-June 2023, combat units of the Defence Forces should not be thrown into the battle zone for Bakhmut, but should be directed towards Melitopol and Mariupol. This would effectively cut off a land bridge for the enemy.
"And then you can pull up more HIMARS and start hitting Sevastopol, Dzhankoy, Saky, all those places. Then it will be almost impossible for the Russians to stay there. That way Ukraine can win," the general concluded.
As OBOZREVATEL reported, Hodges already showed a possible plan for a counterattack by the Ukrainian Armed Forces on temporarily occupied Crimea. He stressed that Ukraine needed long-range weaponry to liberate the peninsula.
In this case, the US general is convinced that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will be able to liberate Crimea from the Russian occupants by the end of summer 2023. Under such a condition, it is possible to chase the enemy away from eastern Ukraine as early as next year or even earlier.
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