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19 Nov, 2022 15:11

Ukraine could seize Crimea next month – deputy defense minister

The Russian peninsula was controlled by Kiev from 1991-2014, due to a controversial Soviet-era re-assignment
Ukraine could seize Crimea next month – deputy defense minister

Ukraine could capture Russia’s region of Crimea by the end of this year, Kiev’s deputy defense minister, Vladimir Gavrilov, has said. In an interview with Sky News on Saturday, Gavrilov stated that what is known as a ‘black swan’ – or a sudden and unexpected event – could bring about victory. 

“I think Russia can face a black swan in their country, inside Russia, and this can contribute to [our] success with Crimea,” he said, adding that there was “also a military option as well with some kind of combination of forces, resources and something else.”  

“We can step into Crimea, for example, by the end of December. Possible? Possible. Not ruling out that it can be so,” Gavrilov added. 

When asked what type of a black swan event could happen in the coming months, Gavrilov suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin could “disappear, for example, due to some reason, physical and political,” or that the Russian public could become “disillusioned” with the situation on the battlefield.  

Echoing a previous statement by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Gavrilov said that Kiev would resume negotiations with Russia “only when they’re ready to leave our territories.”  

Expressing optimism about Ukraine’s chances, Gavrilov stated: “My feeling is that by the end of spring this war will {be} over.” 

Crimea broke away from Ukraine and voted to join Russia shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev. In July, Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said that the refusal “by Ukraine or any NATO state” to consider Crimea a part of Russia would be considered a threat.

In early October, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Ukraine’s former Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, officially became part of Russia following referendums that saw the majority of local residents vote in favor of accession. 

Last week, Russian troops withdrew from Kherson, amid concerns that Ukrainian forces could destroy a nearby hydroelectric dam, thus provoking flooding that could cause the deaths of soldiers and civilians.

Putin said in late September that Moscow would defend the new territories “with full force and all means at our disposal.”