Ukraine’s Intensified Strikes Threaten Russia’s Military Stronghold in Crimea: Experts Say
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff Writer with Agencies

Ukraine has intensified its strikes on Russia’s air defenses in Crimea, posing a significant challenge to Moscow’s military capabilities in the region. According to war analysts, these sustained attacks could render Crimea untenable as a military staging ground for Russia, though they are not expected to single-handedly end the occupation.

Escalating Attacks

In a recent assessment, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) noted that Ukraine’s persistent strikes on military targets in Crimea are forcing Russia to deploy new air defenses. The ISW suggested that continued strikes could hinder Russia’s ability to launch attacks from the annexed peninsula.

Over the past few months, Ukraine has repeatedly targeted Russia’s air defenses in Crimea, with the intensity of attacks increasing this week. Reports indicate that one Russian S-400 “Triumf” and two S-300 air-defense missile systems were hit overnight from Sunday to Monday, likely using US-supplied Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS).

Two days later, Ukraine launched another missile strike, targeting an S-300 missile system and two S-400 missile systems in Crimea. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not specify the missile types used, but the ISW suggested they were “likely” ATACMS.

Implications for Russian Military Operations

These strikes demonstrate that Ukraine’s older, Western-supplied missiles can penetrate even Russia’s most sophisticated air defense systems. Forbes reported that Russia’s S-400 missile systems are failing to defend nearby Russian troops or even themselves.

This development poses a significant problem for Russia, which has relied on Crimea as a key supply route for troops and equipment to the front lines in Ukraine. The indications are that Russia is already exploring alternative routes.

In response, Russia has positioned an S-500 missile system in Crimea to protect its air defenses, according to Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s defense intelligence directorate.

Expert Opinions on the Situation

Despite Ukraine’s recent successes, military experts caution that air strikes alone will not suffice to end Russia’s occupation of Crimea. Keir Giles, a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House, noted that while Ukraine’s operations are making the peninsula less tenable for Russian forces, limited information makes it difficult to fully assess Russia’s air defense capabilities in the region.

Matthew Savill, director of military sciences at the UK-based Royal United Services Institute, explained that Crimea is largely out of range of Ukrainian artillery and rocket artillery like HIMARS. He suggested that while Russia may have to make difficult decisions about replacing lost air defenses, air strikes alone won’t be enough to force a Russian withdrawal from Crimea. A significant Ukrainian ground push would be necessary to create the required pressure.

James Black, assistant director of defense research at RAND Europe, echoed this sentiment. He emphasized that Crimea is a major strategic and political priority for the Kremlin, and Russian forces are unlikely to withdraw without a major fight. Any withdrawal would be a serious embarrassment for President Putin and his military leadership, both domestically and internationally.

While Ukraine’s intensified strikes on Crimea’s air defenses are significantly challenging Russia’s military operations, experts agree that these actions alone will not end the occupation. A combination of sustained air strikes and a substantial ground offensive would be necessary to push Russian forces out of the strategically and politically vital region of Crimea.

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