Game-changer Putin facing annihilation as veneer of Russian safety in key area ruined

Ukraine admits responsibility for brutal Crimea strike

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Writing in the online publication 1945, national security writer Steve Balestrieri wrote that Ukraine can now use long-range missiles and special forces attacks to get the upper hand on Putin’s forces. Russian forces are now being “forced to redeploy forces to the rear to guard previously ‘safe’ areas”, Mr Balestrieri added.

This is a “threat the Russians continue to be unprepared for”, he said.

Countries such as the US, UK and Canada have committed to furnishing Kyiv’s forces with high mobility artillery rocket systems for strikes up to a distance of 80km, and specialist training.

US Green Berets, Canadian and UK special forces training has allowed Ukrainian special forces to weaponise local communities, Mr Balestrieri argued.

He wrote: “Ukraine with the benefit of special forces attacks and long-range missiles now can slow the flow of personnel and supplies from reaching the front. It is a potential game changer on the ground in Ukraine.”

The tactical advantages of both long-range missile strikes and special forces training are shining through particularly in the likes of Crimea.

Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula back in 2014, using the Moscow-controlled territory to flood southern Ukraine with Russian troops, which was vital to the fall of the Black Sea city of Kherson.

Moscow’s Black Sea naval fleet is also based in Sevastopol, Crimea.

But Mr Balestriari explained: “The Russians believed that their bases in Crimea, where the main naval and air assets are located that they used for the invasion, were inviolate from Ukrainian attacks.

“Ukraine’s long-range artillery can’t reach that far, and Russia’s air defences keep Ukraine’s aircraft at bay.

“That veneer is being slowly eroded away by attacks that are growing in intensity.”

On Tuesday, a series of explosions at a Russian ammunition depot in Crimea saw the complex set ablaze, leaving two people injured.

The site at Mayskoye was used “for temporary storage of ammunition of one of the military units”, Russian defence officials said.

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The Russian defence ministry added: “As a result of the fire, the stored ammunition detonated.”

The Kremlin then Russian officials called blasts at Mayskoye “sabotage”, with a key railway near Dzhankoi also sustaining damage.

This comes after a series of explosions at the Russian Saky airfield in Crimea last Tuesday.

Satellite imagery showed significant damage to charred Russian aircraft based at the facility.

Kyiv denied responsibility for the attacks, but the Ukrainian military posted a taunting message about “fire safety rules and the ban of smoking in unsettled places” on social media in the wake of the attacks.

Kyiv then claimed on Wednesday that Russian forces were retreating from proximity to Ukraine after the string of explosions.

The Ukrainian defence ministry said: “After the recent events in Crimea, the [Russians] are urgently moving their planes and helicopters deep into the peninsula and to the airfields of the Russian Federation.”

It added: “The occupiers are carrying out measures to partially move aviation equipment from forward-based airfields in Crimea to reserve airfields and airfields permanently based on the territory of the Russian Federation.”

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