Ben Hodges: Crimea is a ‘decisive place,’ and as long as Russia holds the peninsula, Ukraine will be in danger
Provided that the allies provide all the necessary weapons, primarily long-range missiles, Ukraine can liberate Crimea by the end of summer. And the de-occupation of Donbas is possible next year or even earlier.
This was stated by the former commander of US troops in Europe, General Ben Hodges, writes Ukrinform. According to him, the Armed Forces of Ukraine should be able to shoot at 150-300 kilometers directly at the target. This will force the Russian Black Sea Fleet to leave the peninsula.
We are going to do everything possible for Ukraine to win this year… It is at least possible that Ukraine will liberate Crimea before the end of the summer,” Hodges stressed.
The American general considers Crimea the “decisive place”, and Ukraine will be in danger as long as Russia holds this peninsula. And Donbas Hodges called it simply “important.”
According to the general, Ukraine will not be able to restore the economy while Crimea is under Russian occupation fully. After all, Ukraine will not be able to use the port of Mariupol, and the Odessa port will also not be fully operational.
“We must help Ukraine return Crimea. This year. We want this to happen, and we must give everything we need,” Hodges said.
He believes that the gamechanger will not be a specific weapon, but the decision of the allies that Ukraine must win. The tanks that Ukraine has and uses very well on the battlefield will help isolate Crimea. In particular, Hodges believes that by keeping Russian forces around Bakhmut, the Armed Forces of Ukraine can isolate Crimea.
Earlier, Ben Hodges said that Crimea could be the next big battlefield that will decide the outcome of the war in Ukraine. In his opinion, the liberation of Crimea can be achieved by isolating the peninsula with air and ground strikes to separate and disrupt the main communications between Russia and Crimea – the Kerch bridge and the so-called land bridge.