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What if Ukraine Can’t Take Back Crimea from Russia?

HIMARS Training: Credit - Wisconsin National Guard / Sgt. Sean Huolihan. Wisconsin National Guard / Sgt. Sean Huolihan
HIMARS Training: Credit - Wisconsin National Guard / Sgt. Sean Huolihan. Wisconsin National Guard / Sgt. Sean Huolihan

West Casts Doubt On Ukraine’s Ability to Retake Crimea: While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly promised to leverage Western military support into a successful offensive designed to retake control of Crimea,

Western officials have reportedly cast doubt on his ability to achieve the goal.

Accelerating the War

A report from British newspaper The Mirror revealed how Western allies of Ukraine are looking for ways to “accelerate” the end of the war and do not believe that Zelenskyy’s vision of taking back the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014 is realistic.

Citing an unnamed Western official, the newspaper described how rumors of the White House preparing to send long-range Patriot missile systems to Ukraine are true, and that other countries are expected to increase their supply of advanced weapons at the same time.

“It’s all kept under review and it’s all part of this ongoing conversation with the Ukrainians,” the unnamed official said. “I haven’t heard fighters mentioned for a while but if the trajectory keeps going in the way it is I think there will be a conversation about that.”

As Western governments appear increasingly willing to send more advanced equipment to Ukraine, however, that equipment may not necessarily be designed to help Ukraine reclaim any territories other than those annexed by Russia in September.

What About Crimea?

The unnamed official told The Mirror that there is a “growing recognition that things may go on as they are for a very long time – there’s a question therefore in people’s minds about, ‘Is there something that can be done, without going outside the envelope, to accelerate the Ukrainians getting to a better position?’ However one defines that”.

As a result, the official said, Western leaders are examining the expected trajectory of the conflict and looking at ways to put Ukrainians into a better position faster than originally planned. Nobody involved in these plans, however, is said to believe that Crimea could return to Ukrainian control.

“I haven’t heard anyone saying that Crimea can be retaken – I haven’t heard Ukrainians say that either.”

Speaking to The Economist this week, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, suggested that the Ukrainian military remains focused on retaking Crimea anyway.

Responding to a question about the issue, Zaluzhnyi said that the Ukrainian military needs to move forward 84km to Melitopol to reach the border of Crimea, and that once the city is liberated, it will give Ukraine full fire control over the land corridor between Russia and Crimea.

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.