As Putin’s war on Ukraine – and civilization – continues, many are properly focusing on the Black Sea. Putin’s strategy is obvious, he wants to control the Black Sea and the consequences of his doing so would be catastrophic.
Our – the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation’s – friend and colleague Iulia Sabina-Joja’s opinion piece on this subject in the New York Post is set out below.
In addition, in the midst strange but publicly voiced Administration concern about Ukraine possibly attacking targets inside Russia there appeared on YouTube a story that Ukraine had attacked a “huge military base outside Moscow”.
Obviously, it smacked of fake news (or, more properly, Kremlin lies).
You will find the truth below Iulia’s op-ed.
We must stop Russia’s land bridge to Crimea — and destroy the Kerch Strait bridge now
June 3, 2022 7:37pm Updated
The culmination of the Donbas battle is near. For the first time in this war, the pendulum starts swinging in Russia’s favor. By summer’s end, it’s possible that Moscow will fully secure its land bridge to Crimea. This would have catastrophic consequences.
The Russian land bridge would enable Putin’s control of the Black Sea coast from Crimea all the way to Georgia. The Ukrainian military must destroy the bridge. But it can only do so if the Biden administration shows itself ready to finally and properly stand up to Russia.
Why are things turning in the Donbas? The West is still far too slow in getting heavy weapons to the frontline. Ukrainians continue to fight ferociously, to be sure; but they remain overmatched in military capability.
Ukrainians slow down the invaders, yet Russia keeps making progress, killing as many as 100 Ukrainians every day. [The figure I have been receiving is more like 300, but the reality is Russia’s war atrocities continue. RAM]
Industry is decimated; critical infrastructure is being torn up. Refugees are on the run. Moscow now occupies 20% of Ukraine.
Russia’s overarching aim remains the same: the destruction of Ukraine. We’re seeing that blocking the country’s capacity to export vital agricultural and industrial goods is but one element of the Russian strategy.
If Russia is able to take over the Crimean land bridge, likely it would cut off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea.
A fifth of Ukrainian territory occupied should remind us that in 2008, Russia occupied 20% of Georgian territory. After that, it settled into a ceasefire and has maintained its occupation ever since.
In Ukraine, Russia adjusted its war objective from the destruction of the capital to the obliteration and occupation of the Donbas. But we shouldn’t jump to conclusions: Kyiv is not off the hook. Since it lost the first battle of Kyiv, Moscow has been building up with its proxy in Belarus. From the border to Lviv is fewer than five hours by tank.
The point is, Russian President Vladimir Putin may be proving wilier and more capable of adapting than some had originally imagined.
In the south, Russia’s aim is to establish a land bridge that connects the illegally annexed and occupied Crimean peninsula to the mainland. With the land bridge, Moscow can steadily resupply forces and launch attacks into western Ukraine. This land bridge through the Donbas will also enable Russia to finally take Odessa.
Odessa is the last key port that in Russian hands will cut Ukraine from Black Sea access and crucial export capacities. Odessa is also key to completing the land bridge to Transnistria and Moldova. The result would be Novorossiya — “New Russia.” This is part of the imperial vision that comes from Putin’s personal ideologist, Aleksandr Dugin.
Up until now, the Kremlin has suffered myriad setbacks. But Putin may be regrouping. Western sanctions are starting to bite. Moscow is signaling its willingness to negotiate over the Donbas. This is rubbish. Its negotiating position will not be acceptable to either Ukraine or the West.
Right now Kyiv needs Multi Launch Rocket Systems with long-range rockets. But the Pentagon is only sending four! President Joe Biden’s recent op-ed in The New York Times reflected his ongoing mix of commitment, hesitancy and temporizing. [The President wrote of wanting to make Ukraine strong for negotiations. No! The objective must be to provide Ukraine what it needs to defeat Russia for itself and the rest of us. RAM]
What can be done to prevent Russia from securing the Crimean land bridge? A start would be the destruction of the Kerch Strait bridge connecting Russia with Crimea.
This, Europe’s longest bridge, was constructed after Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. Putin drove a truck across the bridge to open it in 2018. Ukrainians have struggled to bring the bridge down.
To tackle this — and to sever the strategically important land bridge — Ukrainians need long-range rockets and far greater air power supplied by drones and fighter jets. Either MiG-29s and Su-24s or old American F-14s and F-16s will do.
Of course, this involves risk. No one wants a wider war. However, the West’s hesitancy has the unintended consequence of prolonging a conflict that is already more than costly and dangerous enough.
Iulia Sabina-Joja teaches at Georgetown and George Washington University, runs the Middle East Institute’s Black Sea program in Washington, DC, and is co-host of the AEI podcast “Eastern Front.
Now to the clumsy Kremlin Propaganda:
The YouTube propaganda - https://youtu.be/jqXXWMqD890
The reality provided by FOUN National Security Task Force member Dr. Phillip Karber :
There are several things wrong with the video.
First, the location of the sheds shown at the beginning of video with two “strikes” are NOT anywhere near Moscow but located at:
Vasylenkove, Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine
Coordinates: 49.765562° 37.035504"
As ID’d in Google Earth
Second, that target location has NO resemblance to any Russian or Ukrainian military facility. If you look close, the building that took the two hits (if they aren’t photoshopped in) is an open air storage facility associated with the drying of grains. Also, the square tall structure, when viewed in 3D is clearly some type of (grain?) elevator.
Third, the brick 4 story buildings shown in video with footage of firefighters is not a location within several km of the above. And the one aerial view of it bears no resemblance to the above side. That fire is much larger than above location & appears to be in an industrial type park (not farm land) and could be almost anywhere but at those coordinates.
Beware always of Kremlin lies and fake news.
The opening comments and parenthetical comments within the articles are Mr. McConnell's and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation or the Friends of Ukraine Network.