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11 Mar, 2024 16:02

Ukraine threatens ‘serious operation’ against Crimea

Kiev’s military intelligence has produced a TV documentary about “victories at sea”
Ukraine threatens ‘serious operation’ against Crimea

Actions by Kiev’s special forces in the Black Sea region are preparations for an attack on Crimea, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence (GUR), Kirill Budanov, announced on Monday.

As part of a promotion for a TV documentary called ‘War for the Sea’, which aired on the unified Ukrainian TV network on Sunday, Budanov posted a statement on the GUR’s official Telegram channel.

“These are all preparatory measures for a serious operation in Crimea,” he said. “In addition, it is a good message for the population that has been living under occupation for 10 years. Many of them believe that they have been forgotten.”

Around 97% of Crimeans voted to rejoin Russia in March 2014, shortly after a US-backed coup in Ukraine. Moscow has considered the peninsula part of its sovereign territory ever since, while Kiev has continued to speak of “de-occupation.”

The documentary produced by the GUR offered a narrative of Ukrainian military successes on the Dnieper River and in the Black Sea, mostly related to commando raids and drone strikes against the Russian fleet. 

According to the film, a special unit named ‘Group 13’ is in charge of attacks on Russian ships.

“The enemy will never have dominion of the sea, no matter what they come up with,” the unit’s commander, who was not identified, was quoted as saying. “This is our Black Sea… our Crimea, our Snake Island.”

Budanov made similar comments about Crimea while Ukraine’s much-heralded offensive was getting bogged down last year, following the Ukrainian admission of using sea drones to attack the Kerch Bridge. Russia has shrugged off Ukrainian drone attacks as meaningless public relations stunts as Kiev’s ground forces continue to retreat.  

Dmitry Belik, a member of the State Duma from Sevastopol, laughed off the GUR announcement as a “PR campaign.”

“Budanov has long stopped being original in his statements,” he told RIA Novosti. “These ‘serious operations’ have amounted to a suicidal landing on the Crimean coast for the purpose of hastily unfurling the Ukrainian flag on camera, or nailing it to some fence or public restroom. Then they quickly ran away, if they were lucky.”

Senator Vladimir Dzhabarov also commented on Budanov’s announcement, speculating that it was “either a fake, or stupidity.” In the event that the Ukrainians actually try something, Russia will be ready, he said.

“It’s not very common to hear such statements from the head of a special service. As a rule, the leadership of the special services not only does not talk about upcoming operations, but also does not comment on them after they are carried out,” Dzhabarov told reporters.