Ukraine defence chief says troops will be in Crimea by end of year after Russian retreat

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Ukraine could “move into Crimea by the end of December”, the nation’s deputy defence minister has claimed, as its forces push past the port city of Kherson. Crimea, a small piece of land in between the southeast of Russia and the south of Ukraine, was annexed by Russia in 2014 as Vladimir Putin looked to shore up access to the only warm water port at his disposal at Sevastopol. Minister Volodymyr Havrylov, who is also a retired army general, said he believes Ukraine will retake the land after eight years of Russian occupation following a “Black Swan” event, described as an unexpected incident, such as the disappearance of Putin. 

Mr Havrylov said: “There is a phenomenon called Black Swan. So, an unexpected event coming to calculations nobody expected to come. 

“So, I think Russia can face a Black Swan inside Russia and it can contribute to our success in Crimea. 

“There is also a military option with some kind of combination of military resources and something else, we can move into Crimea by the end of December. It is possible.” 

Asked what kind of Black Swan event could happen within Russia over the next few months, Mr Havrylov said: “Putin disappeared, for example, due to some political or physical reason. 

“Or somebody from his inner circle, something happens. Or maybe a combination with a very disillusioned society, in terms of their losses.”

Crimea has been an instrumental territory through which Russia has advanced their soldiers and military supplies into Ukraine since their invasion in 2014. 

It also holds significant geopolitical value to Putin as it contains the warm water port of Sevastopol; without it, Russia is forced to export from ports in Siberia, where the waters freeze over for several months, rendering them unusable. 

The loss of Crimea would, in material terms, represent a significant loss of trade to Russia and dampen their claims to superpower status. 

READ MORE: Putin dealt blow as Russia chances of conquering Ukraine are null [REPORT] 



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