Ukraine’s military has shocked the world, to put it frankly, as they continue to completely decimate Russia’s formerly-fearsome army week after week.
In recent days it has become rather apparent that Ukraine has not only the ability to repel the Kremlin’s forces, but to also push them back toward their borders…and then some. This means that the repatriation of Crimea might be on the table…but that could be dicey.
A Biden administration official recently told members of Congress that Ukraine has the military capability to retake Crimea, but some officials are concerned any large-scale offensive that threatens Russia’s hold on the peninsula could push Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons, say two U.S. officials familiar with the matter.Advertisement - story continues below
The late November Ukraine briefing to some members of Congress included discussion of the reasons Ukraine will continue to need U.S. weapons and equipment for the foreseeable future. The two officials said a Biden official, when asked during the briefing about continued support for the Ukrainian military and whether it would try to retake Crimea, responded that Ukraine now has the ability to take it back.
The idea remained outside of the mainstream narrative, however.
Asked about the response, a U.S. official said that Ukraine has no near-term objective to retake Crimea and that a military offensive is not imminent but did acknowledge that Ukraine has shown resilience and perseverance throughout the war. Administration officials say they believe three recent deadly drone strikes against Russian military bases were carried out by Ukrainians, although they say it’s still not clear whether the Zelenskyy government ordered them directly.
Moscow’s military doctrine allows for preemptive nuclear strikes in a number of situations, some of which could be invoked should Ukraine attempt to retake Crimea.