Ukraine announced the formation of eight assault brigades with the goal of retaking territories under Russian control, including the Crimean peninsula.
“Ukraine is preparing for an offensive as far as Crimea and the Black Sea in order to drive the enemy out of our territory. The Interior Ministry has begun to form assault brigades consisting of national guards, police, and national police and border guards. These are brigades of volunteers who want to liberate Lugansk, Donetsk, and Crimea,” a statement from the Ukrainian police force said on February 3.
“8 brigades against one opponent. It’s time to take back what belongs to us,” the announcement stressed.
According to Ihor Klymenko, Acting Minister of the Interior of Ukraine, the newly formed force consists of patriotic volunteers, “seeking to defeat the opponent and liberate the occupied territories of Ukraine”. . “There are a lot of such people” in Ukraine, he said.
“First of all, they are people who went through the conflict period 2014-2015. Some people fought in 2022. Some people were injured,” Klimenko explained.
Klimenko said six of the eight brigades are composed of national guards, while the other two are composed of police officers and border guards. He also confirmed that participants can get financial compensation, social benefits, and other perks, as well as “the opportunity to eliminate opponents”. According to him, the “immediate goal” of this force is to fully defend Ukraine’s “internationally recognized borders”.
When asked about the new Ukrainian forces, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Donbas region (including Donetsk and Lugansk) in eastern Ukraine is still not fully protected by the Russian military, “that’s the reason for the war.” The special military epidemic continues”. However, Peskov said the security of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, was “well guaranteed”.
Ukraine is said to have increased its mobilization due to heavy losses on the front lines, although Kyiv denies this. Aleksey Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, revealed in an interview this week that Ukrainians are queuing at duty centers every day to submit information awaiting mobilization orders.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly vowed to regain all lost territories, including Crimea. Major General Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Service, said on January 31 that Ukraine “must do everything to ensure that Crimea will return home (Ukraine) in the summer”.
The Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea has become an important area for Russia to launch a military campaign in 2022. From Crimea, Russia has controlled a large area of territory in southern Ukraine. Crimea still serves as a base from which Russia deploys aircraft and warships close to Ukraine.
Although Ukrainian officials have vowed to retake Crimea at all costs, military experts warn that this plan is fraught with risks because it could escalate the conflict. Russia affirmed that it will defend its territory and annexed areas by all available means, including its nuclear arsenal.