Ben Hodges: Ukrainian Armed Forces can liberate Crimea by the end of summer
By the end of August this year, Ukrainian troops will be able to liberate the Russian-annexed peninsula of Crimea, provided that the West provides Kyiv with long-range precision weapons. In an interview with DW, this opinion was expressed on Monday, April 10, by the former commander of US forces in Europe, retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges.
“I think the Ukrainian General Staff has prepared well for what will become a counter-offensive when the right conditions are created. That means weather conditions when the ground is dry, and also, and this is the main thing when the Armed Forces of Ukraine do enough training and build their logistics. I think that we will see a very professional offensive, very effective, and the goal of it will be to isolate Crimea and create conditions for its possible liberation later this year," Hodges said.
Answering a clarification question from DW whether he adheres to his earlier forecast that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be able to reach Crimea in the summer, the former commander of US forces in Europe noted: “Yes, but by the end of August. Ukraine will be able to liberate Crimea if, and I always made that reservation, if we provide them with the long-range precision weapons they need to do so, yes, they certainly can do it."
Assessing the offensive potential of the Russian Armed Forces earlier in the interview, Ben Hodges pointed out that the weapons "which Russia is now getting out of stocks" are about his age, "that is, he is 65 years old." "Russia has no other opportunities to conduct an offensive. There is nothing to launch a new offensive," he stressed, adding that, in his opinion, in the circumstances, the RF Armed Forces went on the defensive in an attempt to "keep what we have."