The key to Ukraine punching through Russia’s defences – and putting Putin’s forces on the back foot

Kyiv has been stepping up drone attacks on Crimea as it looks to break key supply lines from the Russian-occupied peninsula, writes Askold Krushelnycky in Ukraine

Tuesday 29 August 2023 18:11 BST
<p>Ukrainian troops fire on Russian positions across the frontline in the Zaporizhzhia region</p>

Ukrainian troops fire on Russian positions across the frontline in the Zaporizhzhia region

Long-range strikes by drone and missile and a raid on territory in occupied Crimea that took Russian forces by surprise – all part of Kyiv’s recent push towards the peninsula that is a symbol of Vladimir Putin‘s territorial ambitions.

Perhaps most significant of all is the capture of the key village of Robotyne, about three hours drive east of Crimea. Gaining that foothold will help Ukraine build a foundation to punch through to the coastline of the Sea of Azov.

The Kremlin’s occupation forces indeed rely on those coastal routes for everything to maintain their fighting ability in a number of areas of Ukraine. Without them they would be dependent on supplies coming across the Kerch Straits on the Kerch Bridge from Russia to Crimea, the longest in Europe, and which has already been shown to be spectacularly vulnerable to Ukrainian attacks. So cutting that coastal route would be a game-changing triumph for Ukraine. It would split the Russian lines in the region.

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