Ukraine plans spring counter-offensive to cut off Crimean peninsula from Russia

Watch: Is Ukraine planning to drive a wedge between Crimea and Russia?

Ukraine's impending counter-offensive plans to "drive a wedge" between Crimea and Russia.

In an interview with a German paper, Ukraine's deputy military intelligence chief, Vadym Skibitsky said his country is planning a spring offensive.

Mr Skibitsky says Ukraine will liberate all areas of the country including Crimea, taking it back to the 1991 borders, seeking to "drive a wedge" between Crimea and the Russian mainland.

Before the Russian invasion last year, there was only one way for Russian troops to enter Crimea and that was over a bridge across the Kerch Strait. 

The invasion created a 'land bridge' to the peninsula by taking the coastline, which included cities such as Mariupol.

In October, part of the bridge was destroyed, with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling the attack on the Kerch Bridge "a terrorist act" carried out by Ukrainian special services.

Watch: A reported truck bomb led to the partial collapse of the Kerch bridge linking Russia and Crimea last year.

Ed Arnold, a research fellow for European security at the military think tank RUSI, spoke to Forces News about how realistic is it for Ukraine to take it all back.

"Crimea is going to be a very difficult proposition for Ukrainian forces to assault and take back by force," Mr Arnold said.

"The likelier option is that they will do effectively what they did with Kherson, they made the city untenable for Russian forces to hold," he added.

"If they get to the Sea of Azov and are able to start to put in weapons systems on the coast that can control part of the Sea of Azov, with the trade line cut, it makes resupply of Crimea very difficult.

"Specifically if they can get Himars in range as well, of the Kerch bridge that effectively means that they control all movements in and out of Crimea."

Watch: Russians use 'zombie wave 'attacks to overwhelm Ukrainian defences.

However, it should be questioned whether this latest information from Ukraine should be taken at face value.

Previously the Ukrainians have been relatively unwilling to reveal anything about their tactics.

So it is somewhat questionable that now the deputy chief of military intelligence is effectively announcing their plans for a spring offensive.

It remains to be seen if this is really what they are going to do or if this could be a red herring.

Related topics

Join Our Newsletter


Ukraine and Russia in escalating race for drone warfare domination

What it's like serving on a state-of-the-art Royal Navy destroyer

RAF Puma crews train for first firefighting season in Cyprus