Russia builds ‘significant’ defences as Putin panics about ‘Crimea attack’

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu on potential Ukrainian attack on Crimea

Russia is building “elaborate and significant” defensive fortifications above Crimea over fears that Ukraine is “capable of directly assaulting” the peninsula with British and US-supplied long-range weapons, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reported.

A day after the Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu, one of only a handful of men in Vladimir Putin’s siloviki (the autocrat’s inner circle), issued a desperate warning to Ukraine over a potential retaking of Crimea, the MoD released satellite images detailing how the occupying forces are attempting to protect the peninsula.

The Crimean region is of immense importance to Russia because it affords them their only access to a warm water port (Sevastopol) – all of its other ports are subject to freezing temperatures for a quarter of the year, preventing them from exporting goods around the world year round – as well as providing a base for its prized Black Sea naval fleet.

Satellite images published by the MoD on Wednesday (June 21) morning showed Russia were fortifying their defensive positions north of the small town of Armyansk, in northern Crimea. The town is of regional significance because it is located on the narrow land bridge just beneath Kherson Oblast, which has been partially liberated by Ukraine.

The town also marks the beginning of the E97 strategic highway into the heart of the peninsula – two Ukrainian main roads, the M17 and the T2202, merge in Armyansk – and the loss of that junction could prove fatal to a possible defence of Crimea.

The MoD said Russia had built “an extensive zone of defences of 5.6 miles (9 km) in length” roughly two miles north of the small town.

They added: “These elaborate defences highlight the Russian command’s assessment that Ukrainian forces are capable of directly assaulting Crimea. Russia continues to see maintaining control of the peninsula as a top political priority.”

On Tuesday (June 20), Sergey Aksyonov, the Russia-appointed head of occupied Crimea, claimed that Russian electronic warfare units downed a Ukrainian drone in the north of the peninsula.

While that report could not be verified, it further represents a growing concern among Russian authorities that as Ukrainian forces advance deeper into the occupied territories, albeit slowly, Crimea slips evermore within range of Western-supplied missiles.

The nearest Ukrainian forces to Crimea are stationed on the northwestern banks of the Dnipro River, roughly 78 miles from Armyansk; their longest-range weapon, the British-supplied Storm Shadow missile, can hit targets around 150 miles away.

The same day that Aksyonov claimed his forces had downed a drone, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu, considered one of Putin’s closest allies, told a ministry board meeting that Ukraine is “planning to deliver strikes” on Crimea.

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

“According to our data, the leadership of the Ukrainian armed forces is planning to deliver strikes on the territory of the Russian Federation, including Crimea, with HIMARS [rockets] and Storm Shadow missiles,” he said.

He warned that the use of these weapons would trigger immediate strikes by Russia on decision-making centres in Ukraine and would imply the full-fledged involvement of the US and the UK in the conflict.

The Kremlin considers Crimea outside of the “special military operation” zone, an opinion reflective of its importance to their naval and exporting industries as opposed to any legitimate claim to the peninsula, and Shoigu suggested they would treat a strike on that territory the same as they would an attack on mainland Russia.

He concluded the meeting by claiming that the Russian Armed Forces had “repelled all 263 Ukrainian counter attacks” since June 4, though he did not provide any evidence to back that report up.

Don’t miss…
Wagner ‘lost more than 40,000 fighters’ in Bakhmut sparking chaos for Russia[REPORT]
Embarrassing moment Putin’s pilots miss sitting-duck target in own territory[REVEAL ]
Mercenary army boss slams Putin’s failure in Ukraine[LATEST]

Source: Read Full Article