As Ukrainian troops train in NATO countries ahead of planned offensives, a series of strikes in Crimea have undermined eight years of Russian occupation, causing both Russia and the West to re-evaluate the fate of the illegally annexed peninsula.
Though Crimea has a significant cultural and defensive history as part of Russia, it is almost universally recognized as Crimea. After being annexed following an unlawful referendum in 2014, many observers have considered any sort of settlement with Russia to involve conceding the peninsula.
However, Ukraine’s government has remained adamant about its ability to liberate the peninsula. The recent string of attacks, which have heavily degraded Russia’s air and sea assets in the region, offer a degree of credence to Ukraine’s assertations that the peninsula would not be conceded. Should Crimea be liberated, along with the Finnish-Estonian ‘closing’ of the Baltic Sea, Russia’s navy would be heavily constrained from accessing warm water ports, a significant blow to any power projection outside their borders.