A potential breakthrough. The Biden administration is considering the possibility that Kyiv will need military assistance to attack Crimea, the peninsula illegally annexed by the Russians in 2014 and which Putin sees as an integral part of Russian territory. To write it is the New York Times. “After months of discussions with Ukrainian officials, the Biden administration is finally beginning to concede that Ukraine may need the force necessary to attack the ‘Russian sanctuary,’ even if such a move increases the risk of escalation,” several U.S. officials interviewed from the NYT. Crimea, between the Black and Azov Seas, is home to tens of thousands of entrenched Russian troops and numerous Russian military bases.
War in Ukraine: what will happen in Crimea
The position of the Biden administration, which has never wanted to consider such a hypothesis, has softened recently, the US newspaper writes, given that “if the Ukrainian army can show Russia that they are in control of Crimea, they will be threatened could strengthen Kiev’s position in future negotiations.” In addition, “fears that the Kremlin might strike back with a tactical nuclear weapon have receded.”
The reports exchanged by NATO allies these days center on the observation that Putin is only available for talks when the conquered Ukrainian territories are considered acquired, and even those that Kyiv has already taken over in the past few months . It would only mean one thing: the Kremlin wants to re-annex the whole country. Impossible for the West to accept. “Russia’s victory is inevitable – Putin said threateningly yesterday: it is based on the unity of the Russian people, on the heroism of the special forces, on the functioning of the military-industrial complex.” The paths of dialogue seem very narrow, even the possible mediation of Erdogan would be obsolete by now.
The advance of Ukrainian troops, which could therefore soon be ready to attack Russian strategic bases in Crimea, would leave Russian leader Vladimir Putin with “the uncomfortable choice of escalating against NATO or withdrawing from Crimea,” according to Ukrainian officials and security analysts at the Kyiv Post.
White House officials insist there is no change in stance. Crimea is said to be part of Ukraine. “Since the beginning of the war, we have always maintained that Crimea is Ukrainian and that Ukraine has the right to defend itself and its territory within its internationally recognized borders,” said Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the National Security Council. However, according to the New York Times, military and administration officials had privately questioned the tactical benefit to Ukraine of concentrating attacks on Crimea, arguing that Kiev’s military had better targets elsewhere on the battlefield. Maybe something will change.
NATO is preparing for a possible Russian counter-offensive from spring. There is no reliable information, but various analysts have highlighted that Moscow could send half a million more soldiers to the front lines, human capital and expendable cannon fodder to advance in a trench warfare now taking place.
For this reason, one of the main points of discussion at tomorrow’s NATO summit in Ramstein will be how to help Ukraine and increase war supplies. And we will talk about the Leopard tanks. After the delivery of a battery of “Patriot” missiles for air defense (at the request of NATO also to Minister Guido Crosetto), the transfer of the most advanced tanks in the West after the American Abrams and the French Leclercs to Ukraine would be the okay from Berlin to that of escalation demanded by the USA and the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. “We will give Kyiv heavier and more modern weapons,” NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said yesterday. CNN also writes that the USA could also announce a large military aid package for Ukraine in the coming days, citing two US officials familiar with the dossier.
But Germany must not send German-made tanks to Ukraine until the United States does the same. A government source in Berlin told Portal. Germany has the power to veto any decision to export its Leopard tanks, which are deployed by allied NATO armies across Europe and which experts say are best suited to the Ukraine conflict. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has reiterated several times behind closed doors over the past few days that Berlin will only move on condition that there is a similar decision by Washington, the federal government source said on condition of anonymity.
And the United States decided today not to supply Ukraine with long-range ATACM missile systems or Abrams tanks at the moment: US Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl said so, as reported by Nbc News. “We believe the Ukrainians can change the dynamics on the battlefield and create the kind of effects they want to push back the Russians without the ATACM,” said Kahl, returning from a surprise trip to Ukraine. The undersecretary then noted that Washington was not yet ready to deliver Abrams tanks to Kyiv, stating that some systems were not useful if they were difficult to maintain or if troops were difficult to train for their use.
Zelenskyy: “Ukraine didn’t start the war against Russia, but it will end it”
Ukraine did not start the war against Russia, but “it will end it”. This was underlined by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who spoke from Kyiv at the World Economic Forum planned for Davos. Ukraine is “strong” and “resolute,” said Zelenskyy, insisting that the international community continue to support her army militarily. He added that deliveries of air defense systems would have to outnumber Russian attacks. Ukraine has been equipped with a number of Patriot air defense systems, the most recent of which was confirmed by the Netherlands last night. When asked about Russia’s role in the world, Zelenskyy said he wasn’t sure what it would all lead to. “I think Russia has already earned its place among the terrorists and no longer depends on their leadership,” he said. The Ukrainian President again insisted that Moscow must “respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine”. When asked if he was worried about his safety, Zelenskyy simply said no. “I’m not worried about that,” he said.
Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine has reached the 330th day: almost 11 months since the beginning of the Russian invasion. The end is not in sight.