From our correspondent
Kyiv — Mykhailo Podoliak, your counterattack seems to be mainly stopped on the very long land front, while you are having success with the bombings in the Crimea. Is this how you feel too?
“We have tactical objectives in different sectors of the front and a strategic objective of eliminating the ability of Crimea to supply forces on the front line. We’re having success here, it’s true. We planned the attack in three stages. Destroying radio and electronic communications systems and radar antennas to open the skies over the Black Sea, we are at an excellent point. The second stage is to destroy the Russian fleet in the Black Sea, or at least remove it from the Crimean Peninsula. And we succeed. The third stage will be to put at risk its logistical infrastructure in the service of the army: barracks, group bases, food, fuel and ammunition depots, and transportation routes, including the Kerch Bridge. That is why you will see an increase in our attacks on Crimea.”
Why is Crimea so important?
“About 80 percent of what the first line needs goes through there.”
Russia’s anti-aircraft protection umbrella over Crimea is truly vulnerable?
“Yes, part of their S400 systems, the most efficient, is down. The victories remain but they are less effective. Since a few days, we have been able to hit them more easily with our drones or missiles, depending on the targets.”
Will you also use the long-range US ATACMS missiles that Biden just promised?
“They are really working on destroying their logistics lines, but I want to emphasize two points. We pledged not to use them against the territory of the Russian Federation, but Crimea is Ukrainian under international law, so there will be no inhibitions. Secondly, our General Staff is also working well Very good with our drones.”
Are you saying that if you eliminate Crimea as a logistics hub, you will win the war?
“It will definitely be a huge success. The Russians will be weaker. It will only take a few days for us to notice it.”
“Russian forces at the front will panic and Moscow’s political rhetoric will completely change. In the Kremlin they will dust off the nuclear threat. Not only Medvedev, but Putin himself. And then pro-Russian lobbies in the West will start talking about the need for a truce or peace negotiations.”
toWhy is Crimea important if Russia occupies the “Mariupol land bridge” between its territory and Crimea?
“Between Rostov, Mariupol and Crimea there are no railways, highways and, above all, sufficient warehouses for an army of 500,000 soldiers. It is not enough to bring ammunition, it must be available, and they must organize rotations, training and treatment. They have been outfitting Crimea for this purpose for years. It’s the same reason they used Belarus as a base at the beginning of the invasion. “They just had the right logistics.”
But in recent months, Moscow has turned Mariupol into a kind of military garrison.
“They filled it with soldiers. It’s an important strategic point on the Sea of Azov, but they couldn’t build enough bunkers, rails and warehouses for the entire front.”
French sources speak of Ukrainian drones being used by Sudanese government forces against rebels supported by Wagner’s Russian mercenaries.
“this is not true.” The problem for us is access to weapons, and we cannot give up the drones that we are able to produce. But it is true that there are Wagner forces in Sudan, as well as in Mali and the Congo. “We are interested in studying Moscow’s activities in Africa as well.”
what do you under stand? What do you get?
“There are remnants of the Wagner Mercenary Company, but is this a long-term commitment?” It seems to us that Moscow is using marginal resources to stir up internal unrest in the region. “The goal is to divert international attention from what he is doing in Ukraine.”
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