Commentary on Political Economy

Wednesday 27 December 2023


Ukraine’s Crimea Offensive


Tuesday’s strike is especially notable because the ship was hit in the Crimean port of Feodosia. That’s in the eastern part of the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula where Russia moved some of its naval assets this year after Ukrainian attacks on the southwestern port of Sevastopol.

The strike puts additional pressure on Russia’s Black Sea fleet, which was supposed to dominate Ukraine but has suffered significant losses. The Kremlin has already withdrawn some of its navy from Crimea to the Russia city of Novorossiysk on the Black Sea. Ukraine has destroyed or heavily damaged 23 Russian ships and boats and one Russian submarine, Oleksii Goncharenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker representing the Odessa region, told us on Tuesday.

The campaign against the Russian navy has helped Ukraine break Vladimir Putin’s attempted blockade of the Black Sea. In defiance of the Kremlin, at least 305 ships have sailed from Ukrainian ports carrying more than 10 million tons of grain and other exports, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink said last week. This has been invaluable to Ukraine’s economy and world food prices.

The attack shows that Ukraine can continue to put targets in Crimea at risk with the proper long-range weapons. Ukrainian officials still want to regain all of Crimea, but meantime they are working to degrade Russian military capabilities on the peninsula. Mr. Putin’s 2014 annexation of Crimea enabled his 2022 full-scale invasion. Crimea is also a key supply, command and communications hub for the Russian soldiers who now occupy the southern Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

If Ukraine can keep the pressure on Crimea, it complicates Mr. Putin’s plans for a new offensive. It also puts Ukraine in a stronger position for negotiations if that’s how events proceed. All the more reason for the White House and Congress to agree on new weapons to support Kyiv, and for President Biden to stop withholding the longest-range missiles.

No comments:

Post a Comment