Ukraine troops tipped to enter Crimea soon – nine years after occupation

Ukrainian troops are close to entering Crimea, which was seized by Russia in 2014, says the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence.

Krylo Budanov said Ukraine’s Armed Forces “will soon enter Crimea” as they try to retake the peninsula – nine years after it was annexed. Budanov didn’t specify a timeframe for this.

The claim, made on Ukrainian TV channel TSN, comes as Ukraine continues to launch attacks on Russian-occupied regions as well as targets inside Russia as part of its counteroffensive operations.

Today, Zelensky said war is “gradually returning” to Russia, hours after drone attacks hit two skyscrapers in Moscow’s prestigious business district. Ukraine’s air force officials say the attack was designed to impact Russians who thought the war was distant.

And earlier in the month, it was reported that Ukrainian forces blasted the Kerch Bridge, which links Crimea with Krasnodar in Russia.

READ MORE Zelensky pledges that war is ‘inevitable’ on Russian territory

Masked Russian soldiers, described as “little green men”, first entered the black sea peninsula in 2014 after the Ukrainian population ousted a pro-Russian government led by Viktor Yanukovych.

Ukraine launched its 2023 counter-offensive in several directions last month, including southeast toward Crimea via the Zaporizhzia region.

The British Ministry of Defence said on Saturday fighting had increased in Zaporizhzia over the last 48 hours, particularly around the village of Robotyne, near Orikhiv.

The MoD’s report came after Zelensky’s men said they had success on this front, claiming to have taken the village of Staromaiorske, east of the city of Zaporizhzhia.

Up to 80 tanks and armoured vehicles were involved in the Ukrainian attack on Staromaiorske as Russian fortifications were hit with dense artillery fire and air strikes, according to the Ukrainian Army.

President Zelensky posted a video online showing his troops celebrating the village’s liberation.

One soldier says: “The 35th brigade and the ‘Ariy’ territorial defence unit have fulfilled their task and liberated the village of Staromaiorske. Glory to Ukraine!”

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