US general predicted that the front could decide the war between Russia and Ukraine

A retired US general predicts Crimea could become the next major front in the Russia-Ukraine war, saying the fighting in the peninsula could decide the conflict.

Speaking to Business Insider, General Ben Hodges, former commander of the US Army in Europe, made this prediction.

According to Hodges, the war in Ukraine risks becoming more intense this year as Russia is expected to launch a major battle and the West is moving more advanced weapons to aid Ukraine. Recently, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned that the war had entered a “decisive phase”.

This phase could drag hostilities to a strategically important Russian territory: Crimea, Mr. Hodges said.

The peninsula in the Black Sea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, becomes an important area to help Russia launch a military campaign in 2022. From Crimea, Russia has controlled a large area of ​​territory in the region. South Ukraine. Crimea still serves as a base from which Russia deploys aircraft and warships close to Ukraine.

“The decisive area of ​​this war is Crimea. The Ukrainian government knows that it cannot accept Russia keeping control of Crimea,” General Hodges said.

He said that in the next few months, Ukraine will set conditions to take back Crimea from Russia. He also stressed that Ukraine “will never be safe or able to rebuild its economy as long as Russia holds Crimea”.

Observers said that if the war scenario in Crimea plays out, it could be a very bloody conflict for both sides. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said late last year that Ukraine’s ability to push Russian forces out of Crimea was “militarily not high”.

However, some argue that the return of control of Crimea is vital to Ukraine, and the recent war shows that Kiev is capable of doing this. Putting pressure on Russia in Crimea could also help Ukraine gain a greater advantage at the negotiating table in the future.

“After many consecutive months of gaining the advantage on the battlefield, it is clear that Ukraine has the ability to liberate Crimea. Therefore, Ukraine should plan to liberate Crimea and the West should plan to help,” Andriy Zagorodnyuk, former defense minister of Ukraine, commented in Foreign Affairs magazine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly called on the West to send more weapons to help them retake Crimea and other territories.

“Crimea is our land, our territory, our sea, and our mountains. Give us weapons and we will take back our land,” Zelensky said.

Last week, the US and Germany agreed to deliver heavy tanks to Ukraine – weapons necessary for Kyiv to launch a counterattack to regain territory.

At a press conference on January 18, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Washington considers Crimea – the Russian peninsula annexed in 2014 – as Ukrainian territory.

Asked if the United States would support Ukraine to strike targets in Crimea, Price said Washington did not call on Kyiv to do this. However, he said, Ukraine will be the one to decide how and where Washington’s aid will be used to “defend their territory”.

When asked to comment on Price’s comments regarding the possibility that Ukraine might attack Crimea with US weapons, Russia’s ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov accused the move “to push Ukraine to carry out the attack.” aimed at Russia”.

In early December last year, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov acknowledged the risk that Ukraine might attack Crimea.

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