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Ukraine prepares for future attacks on Crimea after receiving F-16s, reports say

Ukraine prepares for future attacks on Crimea after receiving F-16s, reports say Illustrative photo (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

Western experts believe that Ukraine wins the war with Russia in the temporarily occupied Crimea, according to Business Insider.

Frederik Mertens, a strategic analyst at the Hague Center for Strategic Studies, believes that Ukraine is "preparing the ground" for future air strikes after the arrival of F-16 fighters. This is evidenced, in his opinion, by Ukrainian strikes on the peninsula, especially on Russian ground-based air defense systems.

She says Crimea is vulnerable and the Russians have relatively limited room for maneuver on the peninsula. She emphasizes Putin has a lot to lose both politically and militarily. Therefore, she adds, if a limited number of fighter jets can have a real impact, it is only here - and over the Black Sea, which will become fully accessible as soon as the issue of air defense in Crimea is resolved.

For her part, Maria Snegova, Senior Research Fellow at the Europe, Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says that Russia cannot afford to lose Crimea.

She says it allows Ukraine to use the threat of Crimea's status as a bargaining chip in future negotiations.

At the same time, Elina Beketova, a democracy expert at the Center for European Policy Analysis, noted that if Ukraine can regain control of the Black Sea and return Crimea - or simply exert enough pressure on these territories to threaten Putin - it will mean the end of the war.

Situation in temporarily occupied Crimea

In recent months, numerous explosions have occurred in Crimea due to regular shelling by the Ukrainian Air Force of military facilities of the Russian occupiers.

For example, on June 10, the Ukrainian Armed Forces struck a Russian anti-aircraft missile division near Dzhankoy, as well as near Chornomorske and Yevpatoriya.

On June 12, the Ukrainian Air Force attacked Russian air defense systems near airfields near Belbek and Sevastopol.

Read RBC-Ukraine's report on why Ukraine is increasingly using Russian air defense systems and what the F-16 has to do with it.