Ukraine threatened with ‘crushing blow’
Russia’s response to a threatened Ukrainian attack on Crimean targets will be so harsh that the Kiev authorities will never be able to recover from it, Mikhail Sheremet, who represents the region in the Russian parliament, has warned.
Commenting on continued suggestions by Ukrainian officials that Kiev forces may hit targets on the Crimean Peninsula or the Crimean Bridge, Sheremet stressed that such a move would be followed by “a crushing blow to decision-making centers in Kiev, military infrastructure and arms-supply logistics channels.”
“The Kiev regime will receive such a rebuff that it will no longer be able to recover,” the MP told RIA-Novosti on Sunday.
The warning follows Saturday’s statement by Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman Vadim Skibitskiy, who claimed that Crimea could be targeted by US-supplied М142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS multiple launch rocket systems.
The peninsula is a legitimate target for Ukrainian forces due to becoming a Russian military transport hub amid the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, the spokesman said. Russia’s “Kalibr systems, frigates, small missile ships, submarines” in Crimea also “must be hit” as they endanger Ukraine’s security, according to Skibitskiy.
Sheremet insisted also that “the US, which supplies lethal weapons to Ukraine, will also bear responsibility for the provocation towards Crimea.”
“Russia won’t play nice with its enemies if the US decides to join their ranks. We have the opportunity to put in place the American authorities, who have crossed all red lines,” he added.
Since Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine more than four months ago, several high-ranking officials and military commanders in Kiev have claimed that Crimea, which overwhelmingly voted to reunite with Russia in a 2014 referendum after a coup in Ukraine’s capital, could be attacked by the Kiev’s forces.
Earlier this month, Alexey Arestovich, a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said the Ukrainian military would target the Crimean Bridge as soon as it obtains the capability to carry out such a strike.
American officials had earlier claimed that their Ukrainian counterparts had promised them that US-made arms wouldn’t be used to 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 Ukrainian 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.