With their invasion of Ukraine stalling and flailing in ever-more humiliating ways, the Kremlin has resorted to a sort of bleak nihilism about the entire affair, threatening nuclear annihilation should Ukraine somehow pose a threat to Russian territory.
And, as it turns out, there is a great deal more concern about this possibility in recent days as well, thanks to fears of a possible blitz on Crimea.
After a series of crushing defeats for Russia’s military in Ukraine from the northeast to the south over the last several weeks, Russian authorities in Moscow appear to be increasingly concerned that Ukraine has set its sights on seizing back Crimea next.
Russian MP Andrei Gurulyov on Sunday urged Moscow to determine the risk of Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization launching an attack on Crimea, which Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Russian MP Mikhail Sheremet warned that Ukrainian troops will suffer a “final crushing blow” if they launch an attack on Crimea.
The rhetoric was beginning to sound a bit desperate.
In an apparent attempt to temper fears that Ukraine would go after Crimea, the chairman of the Federation Council’s committee on defense and security, Viktor Bondarev, warned Monday that he doesn’t think Ukraine has the firepower to take back Crimea.
“Ukraine has neither the resources, nor the military force, nor the support of the Crimeans for the promised offensive on the peninsula,” Bondarev said, adding, “‘Crimea is ours’ is not only a slogan and a hashtag. It is an unshakable reality.”
Of course, as we look at these first 9 months of war, it becomes obvious that Russia has been consistently underestimating Ukraine’s abilities…and this latest suggestion may be more of the same.