Ukrainian Special Forces Set Sights on Crimea

( – While most current news accounts cite February 24, 2022, as the date of the Russia/Ukraine war’s launch, the military conflict dates back to President Vladimir Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. Surrounded by the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, the land mass has strategic value geographically and economically to the region. Recent reports indicate that Ukrainian special forces units have set their sights on Crimea as part of Ukraine’s counteroffensive.

On August 23, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered an inspiring speech at the third Crimea Platform Summit. He told attendees that Crimea would be de-occupied, adding, “Ukraine does not trade territories because [it] does not trade people.”

Later that night, Ukrainian special forces units launched what the Daily Mail described as an “audacious special operation” in Russian-occupied Crimea. Unnamed Ukrainian military intelligence officials confirmed that the teams landed on the western shore of the Crimean Peninsula.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (MDoI) posted a statement and an accompanying video confirming the attack. The notice advised that “Ukrainian defenders” clashed with Russian military units in Occupied Crimea near the settlements of Maiak and Olenivka.

The MDoI reported that special forces members “hoisted” Ukraine’s national flag in Crimea “once again.” It also related that the specialized combat teams accomplished “all objectives and tasks” related to the mission.

The statement concluded on a humorous note, with the MDoI vowing that Ukraine’s defense forces would continue to support Crimea’s Russian occupiers “with the destruction of [their] ammunition, equipment, and personnel.”

Former economist and World Trade Center Board Member Mark Toth and retired US Army Colonel Jonathan Sweet offered additional insight into Crimea’s importance to Ukraine. In short, they believe the repatriation of that territory is “decisive… not only in terms of who wins” the current military conflict but also regarding “who controls the peace” afterward.

They elaborated on that idea, noting that if Crimea remained under Russian control post-war, it would be a double-edged knife. Russia could still use the territory to strike at the heart of Ukraine militarily. Likewise, controlling Crimea would allow it to dominate shipping in the Black Sea and the nearby Ukrainian port cities of Mariupol and Odesa in the Sea of Azov.

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