The recent attacks raise Crimea’s role in the Ukrainian counteroffensive

The war in southern Ukraine intensified, albeit in two completely different epicenters. While the counterattack launched by the Kiev army at the beginning of June has highlighted the last few days Crimea, Russian forces struck Odessa and issued warnings to ships trying to continue With the export of grain from Ukraine After Moscow breached the agreement guaranteeing safe passage across the Black Sea.

With the increase in attacks on the Ukrainian peninsula, by the Russians since 2014, Ukraine is signaling that although far from the trenches, those territories remain an essential and inalienable pillar of the state, according to the President Volodymyr Zelensky repeats. The latest strike, Wednesday, recorded a fire in what Russia considers a military training camp and Ukraine an ammunition depot. kyiv, however, avoids officially recognizing these actions which, according to various sources and media, are the work of the Ukrainian security forces. Crimea is a logistical center that the Russians militarized to the maximum extent during the occupation period. 20% of what arrives is done via the bridge [de Kerch]. This is enough to justify the attacks of our country,” Alexander Krasnokutsky, professor of philosophy and public administration and student of the problem affecting that area under Russian control, defends.

The most important of these attacks took place on Monday and managed to partially destroy the bridge that crosses the Kerch Strait, an infrastructure that leads directly to Russia and is therefore necessary to keep Crimea under occupation. Although he has not spoken of committing direct attacks, Zelensky has hinted in recent days that the strategy consists of harassing the peninsula from the north by counterattacking with his forces, thus forcing his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to negotiate. In this sense, on Wednesday, Ukraine announced some progress in the direction of Melitopol (Zaporizhia region), the city that lies at the gates of Crimea and whose army is still about 70 kilometers away.

Russia insists that this bridge is civilian infrastructure. But we consider them military because they are used to transport military materials, ”adds Professor Krasnokutsky in his office at Zaporizhia University. He believes, as Zelensky predicts, that the deployment of troops in the north of Crimea is a good strategy, and he considers that the Kerch Bridge should end in this way, “become quasi- An island is an island,” says Krasnokutsky, while commenting that those hypothetical negotiations that Putin will have to enter will serve Kiev to “save lives,” because “Ukraine does not have endless human resources.”

After the attacks on Crimea on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday — two of which Moscow repelled — a fire broke out on Wednesday in that area at a military training camp in Kirovsky (east). The fire forced the evacuation of 2,000 residents, according to the occupation authorities, which did not explain the reasons for the accident. Kiev did not do so at the official level. And some sources spoke of explosions that lasted for several hours at the site. Telegram channels linked to the Russian and Ukrainian security services indicated that this fire was caused by a night air strike carried out by Ukraine, according to Reuters. For his part, a spokesman for the Odessa regional authority said it was an ammunition depot.

Action is being taken. The situation becomes clear. “I can’t say more at the moment,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitro Peskov said when asked about the incident. Of course he said that Putin was aware.

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“We can’t consider Crimea as something foreign” for the counterattack, understands Krasnokutsky, who has no doubts that everything is part of his country’s attacks that he considers legitimate. He adds that the Ukrainian army chose to strike the logistical centers of the Russian forces on the peninsula. In spite of everything, he believes that Kiev should be careful in planning to recapture Crimea. The expert does not doubt that the occupation will end one day, but he believes that a transitional process will come later and will not be easy.

The peninsula has been in the hands of a Russian “dictatorship” for nearly a decade, he says, and it is not easy to know what citizens think. “We cannot know, we need to be there and be able to carry out field work, develop a real sociology. In the meantime, we can only move in the hypothetical field. In this way, hypothetically, in Crimea we can estimate That about 50% of the population is in favor of Ukraine, but there are many people who have Ukraine in their hearts and cannot talk about it, ”the professor assures.

The process of restoring power by Kiev will take place in two ways, Krasnokutsky understands. On the one hand, officially, since Kiev has already opened a recruitment process for officials who are ready to inflate a new administration, to which, according to their information, 800 people have already joined. It’s a process he actually talked about in March Deputy Prime Minister, Irina Verechuk, during an interview with EL PAÍS. They include the police, public prosecution, army and other administrative bodies, explains the professor. He adds that apart from the official response, there is another parallel response. And this is what civil society, and citizens in general, must implement, because “it is impossible to change that region with the power of the state alone,” he admits.

Odessa bombing

For its part, Russia increased pressure on the city of Odessa, located on the shores of the Black Sea, which was bombed on Tuesday and Wednesday, after the collapse of the agreement on Monday that allowed the export of Ukrainian grain through safe passage. In addition, the Kremlin said, through a statement from the Ministry of Defense, that from now on any ship approaching Ukrainian ports will be considered a potential military target. Moscow’s repeated attacks on port infrastructure are trying to prevent the country’s grain exports to the rest of the world from continuing. Moscow claimed that they were “responding” to the attack on the Kerch Bridge.

The early morning of Wednesday was “hellish” with as many as 63 missiles and drones being fired, according to Kiev authorities, who reported significant damage in the intense bombing that took place for a second night in a row. And they added that only in the port of Chornomorsk (Odessa) 60 thousand tons of grain were lost. The main target was precisely that region of Odessa, which concentrates in three of its ports the departure of cargo ships with grain that allowed the agreement sponsored by the United Nations and Turkey known as the Black Sea Initiative, which Russia refused to extend when the agreement expired. last monday. Ukraine sees the damage caused by Russia as an attempt to dissuade it from its decision to search for alternatives to that agreement in order to continue exporting grain.

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