UK Advises Ukraine to Stay on Defensive in East and Focus on Targeting Crimea

British soldiers are in Ukraine helping fire Storm Shadow missiles, which can hit targets deep inside Crimea

March 17, 2024

British military officials advised that Ukraine should focus on defense in its ground fight against Russia in the east while focusing on targeted strikes against Crimea and Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, The Sunday Times reported.

The advice was given when British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps and UK Army Chief Antony Radakin visited Ukraine last week. The British officials said rather than attacking, Ukrainian forces should hold the line and pull back to more favorable ground if necessary.

“This will allow the Ukrainians to focus their efforts on the Black Sea and Crimea, where their forces, with the help of Western long-range missiles, have landed significant blows over the past six months,” the report said.

A recording of a conversation between German military officers that was recently published by Russian media revealed that the UK has soldiers “on the ground” in Ukraine helping Ukrainian forces use Storm Shadow missiles, which have a range of 155 miles, making them capable of hitting targets throughout Crimea.

Attacks on Crimea have always been considered a red line for Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the risk of escalation hasn’t stopped Ukraine’s Western backers from assisting with such strikes, as Storm Shadows have been reported to be used in multiple Ukrainian attacks on Crimea.

The UK has also helped Ukraine strike Russian ships in the Black Sea. Another recent report from the Times credited Radakin with helping “the Ukrainians with the strategy to destroy Russian ships and open up the Black Sea.”

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Ukrainian attacks on Crimea and territory inside the Russian mainland have increased since it’s become clear Ukraine has no chance of winning on the battlefield. Since Russia captured the strategic Donetsk city of Avdiivka last month, Russian forces have been making steady gains in the east, and Ukraine is suffering from serious manpower and weapons shortages.

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