Russian state television discussed how Ukraine could target Crimea

  • A Russian analyst has warned that Ukraine could target Crimea, an area currently controlled by Russia, as part of the ongoing war.
  • Official media commentator Mikhail Khodaryonok indicated that Russian ships and facilities could be targeted by Ukrainian forces in possible missile strikes.
  • The former air defense chief said the peninsula was a “top priority” for Russia.

A commentator on Russian state television has warned that Ukraine could target Crimea, an area currently controlled by Russia, as part of the ongoing war that began in February last year.

Russian media commentator and former air defense commander Mikhail Khodaryonok indicated that Russian ships and facilities could be targeted by Ukrainian forces in possible missile strikes.

His comments come as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters the 409th day of what Russian President Vladimir Putin initially called a “special military operation” that has seen the United States and its Western allies provide significant assistance to the Ukrainian government in the form of financial aid and weapons.

Khodaryonok warned of “possible strikes by the Armed Forces of Ukraine against facilities in the territory of the peninsula” in a video of his remarks shared on Twitter on Saturday by Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs.

“Obviously they will be a priority,” Khodaryonok said. “There is the Crimean Bridge, including all other means of communication that are used to transport materials, the network of airports and control centers, the ships of the Black Sea Fleet that are on the roads and at the moorings.

He continued, “All forces and means will be used from the Ukrainian side to strike these sensitive facilities,” adding that Ukrainian missile systems “and other facilities with a range to hit these targets will certainly be used.”

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“Therefore, in this regard, we must prepare very carefully to repel any possible enemy strikes,” Khodaryonok said. “Because after all, Crimea is a top priority for us.

“And we must not allow the enemy to carry out any missions to cause damage, whether to the peninsula itself or to the facilities spread on its territory,” he added.

Responding to the comments, Gerashchenko wrote: “Russian propaganda shows how the Ukrainian counter-offensive can continue in Crimea. They seem to have put a lot of thought into the matter.”

Russia officially annexed Crimea in 2014 but the Ukrainian government never recognized this annexation. The United States and the overwhelming majority of world governments also refused to recognize Russian claims to the region.

Khodaryonok made headlines in May last year when he warned that the situation for Russian forces would “frankly get worse” — comments that differed from the official state narrative at the time and were widely reported.

Two days later, Khodaryonok appeared to have changed his view, criticizing Ukrainian forces and calling “invalid” claims that Kiev forces had “achieved significant successes” and were ready to “launch counterattacks”.

In February, Khodaryonok warned that Russia needed to prepare for Ukraine to receive fighter jets from NATO.

“We must prepare now,” Khodaryonok said in a dialogue session, adding that “there will be shipments of combat aircraft.”

Poland and Slovakia, both NATO members, announced last month that they plan to send fighter jets to Ukraine, while Ukraine previously requested US F-16 fighter jets. The Biden administration has refused to supply planes to Ukraine, citing difficulties surrounding pilot training and aircraft maintenance.

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Newsweek I reached out to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense via e-mail for comment.

Recruits of the Air Assault Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine undergo basic military training at a training ground on March 22, 2023 in Zhitomir, Ukraine. A Russian analyst warned that Ukrainian forces might attack Crimea.Andriy Zhyhaylo / Obozrevatel / Global Images Ukraine / Getty Images

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