US secretary of state fears that efforts to reclaim the annexed peninsula would be a red line for Vladimir Putin
By Joe Barnes, BRUSSELS CORRESPONDENT 16 February 2023 •
Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has warned a Ukrainian attempt to retake Crimea would be a red line for Vladimir Putin that could escalate the conflict, it has been reported.
Mr Blinken told a group of experts that the US is not seeking to actively encourage Kyiv to reclaim the peninsula that was illegally annexed by Moscow in 2014.
The US’s top diplomat said the decision should be left up to Ukraine to decide alone.
It came after Ukrainian drones were downed over Sevastopol, a major port home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, according to the city’s governor.
Kyiv’s armed forces have reportedly launched a series of covert operations to hit Russian military targets on the Crimean peninsula.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly pledged to regain the Russian-controlled territory on the southern tip of Ukraine.
But Mr Blinken has always publicly expressed reservations at the prospect of Kyiv launching a serious attempt to recapture Crimea.
Instead, he believes Joe Biden’s administration should focus on supporting Ukraine’s armed forces in the east of the country, where Russia is concentrating its fresh offensive efforts.
The US secretary of state reiterated the long-held position during a Zoom call with a group of exports, according to the Politico news website.
According to two people involved in the discussions, Mr Blinken said Kyiv’s resources would be better used elsewhere on the battlefield than making an attempt to capture Crimea.
The comments are likely to spark anger in Ukraine given Mr Zelensky’s state war aims of liberating the peninsula.
Kyiv has said it would be able to use US-donated Army Tactical Missile Systems, which have a range of nearly 200 miles, and could be used to strike heavily fortified Russian positions in Crimea.
So far, Washington has said it doesn’t have sufficient stockpiles to deliver the long-range missiles to Ukraine, but Mr Blinken’s comments also shine a light on US reluctance over the system.
Military experts have suggested that recapturing Crimea would be a war in itself because it is defended by tens of thousands of Russian troops dug in defensive positions.
Punching through those lines would need significant amounts of artillery and heavy armour donated from Western countries.
General Mark Milley, the US’s top military commander, said it would be “very, very difficult” to militarily eject Russian forces from occupied areas, including Crimea.
Senior Pentagon officials earlier this month told the House Armed Services Committee that Ukraine would be unable to recapture Crimea imminently.
It is believed Ukraine would be better off attempting to put a stranglehold on the peninsula by targeting the Kerch Strait bridge to mainland Russia, the land bridge through the Donbas and the Sevastopol naval base.
“This would leave a lot of Russian forces without adequate support, without Ukraine actually trying to overrun Crimea, and it would still be a severe blow to Russia’s military effort,” Kurt Volker, a former US special envoy for Ukraine, said.
Last summer, Ukraine appeared to make a start on that plan, with attacks on the Kerch Bridge and a number of military bases.
Zelensky rules out giving any of Ukraine’s territory to Putin in potential peace deal with Russia as he insists it would ‘leave Kyiv weaker as a state’
Comments on the following are swamped with kremtrolls as evil as those who haunt Breitbart:
Blinken’s father was a diplomat who was a witness to the signing of the Budapest Memorandum, which obligated America to preserve the integrity of Ukraine’s borders. His son has chosen to side with Milley. Both should be sacked. They are a disgrace.
Blinken would be a better fit on Trump’s election team.
“US secretary of state fears that efforts to reclaim the annexed peninsula would be a red line for Vladimir Putin”
Fear is what defines this sorry-ass administration.
Liberate mainland Ukraine first, secure it.
Then sink all the moskali ships in the black sea, blockade Crimea and starve them out.
I disagree with Blinken.
Crimea should be retaken for several reasons: NATO membership, the economy, to keep shipping lanes open from Odessa and of course because there are also people living there.
I do not like this hatred towards Milley: he is a non-political figure and he isn’t some clown.
I do think a U.S. General deserves some more respect.
Well, Bert, I support your right to respect of Milley. Does he deserve it? That’s debatable. I do see him as a political figure, though. I doubt that anyone hates the guy, just like Biden, Blinken or anyone else in the administration. However, there might be displeasure and disrespect in some of their actions (actually, inaction). I think I can allow the freedom to say for us all that we hate the creatures in Moscow, mafia land (those who support this war) and the criminals in the mafia army.
I think the only reason people criticise him is because he said that he doesn’t think Ukraine will be able to pull Russia out of Crimea and the Donbas.
I personally think Ukraine can, but to be fair: he undoubtedly knows a lot more than I do. He knows the exact numbers: what Ukraine has, what Russia has, etc.
Ukrainian losses are non-public and no one really knows how many casualties Ukraine incurred, what hardware they still have left. Even most Ukrainian soldiers do not know that.
I find it difficult as a keyboard warrior to argue I know more than the U.S. general that fought in 5 wars and is in the army for 43 years.
I do hope he is wrong or that he is only saying it to move the administration to send more arms, but I think it is a bit arrogant to say the most distinguished U.S. soldier is an idiot based on just one remark.
As far as his statement about Crimea is concerned, either he’s a buffoon, or it was purely political.
Ukraine threw the ruskies out of the Kyiv region, Kharkov region and Kherson. They even liberated Snake Island, despite not having a navy to speak of. Liberating Crimea will be like liberating Kherson. It’s almost an island and could be cut off via the Kerch Bridge and by sinking some ships. Ukraine only needs the means to do so. If Milley knows that Ukraine won’t get those means, then his statement was political. If he thinks it’s because of Ukraine’s inability, militarily speaking, or due to some miraculously splendid ruskie strategy, then he’s a buffoon.
“Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has warned a Ukrainian attempt to retake Crimea would be a red line for Vladimir Putin that could escalate the conflict, it has been reported.”
~ screw poopin’s “red lines” needs to be the other way around, West needs to make him terrified of crossing ours which should be get out of Ukraine or we are coming in with everything we got.
In spite of General Milley’s pessimism, I think he is coming around to how things have to be. But I wouldn’t give you a wooden nickle to hear what blinkalot has to say on any subject.
I think Ukraine needs to return Crimea because that is what the people want. Secondly, you can’t reward evil because evil will return for more.