Threats to Crimea justify demilitarization of Ukraine – senator
Russia’s offensive should continue until Ukraine’s military capabilities are completely eradicated, Senator Andrey Klishas has insisted, in view of Kiev’s plan to strike Crimea.
“Threats from the Ukrainian junta to attack Crimea or the Crimean bridge only confirm that ‘denazification’ and demilitarization must be carried out throughout the whole of Ukraine, otherwise there will always be a threat to our territory, our citizens and infrastructure,” Klishas, who heads the Committee of Constitutional Legislation at Russia’s Federation Council, wrote in a Telegram post on Sunday.
“Denazification” and demilitarization have been cited by Moscow among the goals of the ongoing Russian military effort in Ukraine, which is currently focused on the south-eastern Donbass area.
On Saturday, the spokesman for Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Intelligence, Vadim Skibitskiy, told the broadcaster 1+1 that Kiev considered Crimea, which overwhelmingly voted to become part of Russia in a referendum in 2014, to be a legitimate target for its forces.
When asked if the US-supplied М142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS multiple launch rocket systems could be used to target the peninsula, Skibitskiy responded by saying that Crimea has become a transport hub for Russian weapons and equipment during the conflict between Kiev and Moscow. Russian “Kalibr systems, frigates, small missile ships, submarines” in the area also “must be hit” as they endanger Ukraine’s security, he added.
Several Ukrainian officials and military commanders have issued warnings over the past four months that Crimea, as well as the 19-km-long Crimean Bridge connecting the peninsula to Russia’s Krasnodar Region, could be attacked.
Earlier this month, Alexey Arestovich, a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Kiev would target the Crimean Bridge as soon as it obtains the capability to do so.
Officials in Washington have said that they were given assurances by the Ukrainian leadership that American weapons wouldn’t be used hit Russian territory as it could escalate the conflict even further. However, Kiev says it doesn’t view Crimea as part of Russia, considering the peninsula to be its own territory, occupied by Moscow.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.