Former commander of the US Army in Europe Lt. Gen. Ben Hodgeswho previously did not rule out that by the end of 2022 the Armed Forces of Ukraine would push back the Russian invaders to the February 23 position, predicted that the Defense Forces would liberate Crimea by the summer of next year.
In an interview with Radio Liberty, he particularly noted that the outcome of the operations in the eastern part of Ukraine, where fierce fighting continues, is already inevitable — Ukraine has reached an irreversible momentum.
“Heavy fighting continues in the Kherson region. And I predict that the fighting will continue in and around Kherson for several weeks until the Ukrainians destroy all the Russians who are on the right bank of the Dnieper. But let’s think about the Ukrainian counteroffensive that began in September. Think of it as one major operation. And that is why the left wing of the counteroffensive is an operation that descended from Kharkiv, is now near Donetsk and is moving towards Mariupol. Another wing is in Kherson. So this is the right wing. Both wings meet in the Crimea. All roads lead to Crimea. And as they get closer and closer, they will be able to use HIMARS and other long-range precision strikes to hit Russian targets in Crimea.he noted.
According to the general, as soon as the armed forces of Ukraine start using high-precision weapons against Russian air bases and points of storage or logistical support and naval facilities on the peninsula, Crimea will become unfit to protect the Russians. “And that’s why I believe that Ukraine will liberate Crimea by summer”he added.
Ben Hodges also noted that Russia is currently being defeated “the old-fashioned way”: “They will be defeated on the battlefield. Black Sea Fleet – zero help, apart from launching missiles, they are nowhere in the Black Sea. They are hiding from Ukrainian anti-ship missiles and now they are worried about Ukrainian drones. So, of course, it’s too early to plan a victory parade, but I’m optimistic.”
Recalling the increasing opportunities that the Ukrainians are getting, he recalled that the Russians had failed to protect the Kerch Bridge: “I think the Ukrainians will continue to try to attack this bridge. And if the Russian forces can’t get supplies overland through Mariupol then I think they’ll realize they’re in real trouble there and the Russian General Staff will have to decide how much they’re willing to lose and if they have anything else they can go for in battle.”
We recall that the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate Kyrylo Budanov predicted that the armed forces of Ukraine may be able to enter Crimea by the end of spring 2023.
Photo from Wikipedia
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