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Defense Ministry: Russian forces aim to maintain control over land corridor into occupied Crimea

by Alexander Khrebet July 29, 2023 6:49 PM 1 min read
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Russian forces are focusing on maintaining control of the land corridor to occupied Crimea in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, the Defense Ministry's Military Media Center reported on July 29.

Russia occupied Crimea in 2014 and orchestrated pro-Moscow protests and the seizure of several cities in Donetsk Oblast, aiming to secure a land corridor that runs from Russia's southwestern cities all the way to occupied Crimea.

Ukrainian military operations to liberate Mariupol and several other settlements in the south of Donetsk Oblast in the spring of 2014 dashed the Kremlin's longing of establishing such a corridor for years.

When Russia unleashed its full-scale invasion in 2022, its forces occupied the southern parts of Kherson, Zaporizhzia, and Donetsk Oblast, including Mariupol, setting up the land corridor up to the occupied peninsula.

The Military Media Center also reported that Russian forces are striving to prevent attacks on their fleet and fortify Black Sea and Azov Sea naval bases.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces are conducting their summer counteroffensive in at least three directions, including two sectors in the southeast that could potentially cut off the land corridor to Crimea.

The bulk of the Ukrainian forces committed to the counteroffensive has been deployed southeast, two unnamed U.S. officials told CNN on July 27.

The report indicates that the counteroffensive has breached Russian defensive lines in the southeast, prompting the swift deployment of reserve units to seize the advantage.

On the same day, Ukraine's military General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces are holding down their new positions in the southeast, in the Melitopol and Berdiansk directions, after making gains during the counteroffensive.

Read also: Ukraine’s counteroffensive lurches forward: Key moment looms as more forces committed

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