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Zelensky: Full Ukrainian fire control over Crimea 'only a matter of time'

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 24, 2023 1:33 PM 2 min read
Dense black smoke rises above the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in occupied Sevastopol, southwestern Crimea, following the Ukrainian missile strike on Sept. 22. (Krym.Realii/Telegram)
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Ukraine will soon have fire control capabilities over occupied Crimea, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an online address to the second parliamentary summit of the international Crimea Platform on Oct. 24.

Russian air defense in the peninsula have been consistently degraded, he said, and although Ukraine does not currently have complete control of the skies over Crimea, it is only "a matter of time."

Zelensky noted that Russia's Black Sea Fleet has suffered such significant losses that a new naval base is planned to open in Abkhazia, a Russian-occupied region of Georgia located on the Black Sea, in order to move ships "as far as possible from Ukrainian missiles and naval drones."

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War Notes

Reports about the degradation of the Black Sea Fleet have been echoed by Ukraine's allies. U.K. Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said on Oct. 3 that Ukraine's attacks on the Black Sea Fleet have led to a "functional defeat" of Russia's navy in the Black Sea, a victory that is "every bit as important" as Ukraine's surprise counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast in the autumn of 2022.

Ukrainian forces have struck significant blows to the Russian military and navy operating in occupied Crimea and the Black Sea in recent months. A Ukrainian missile attack hit the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol on Sept. 22, killing dozens of Russian officers.

Zelensky also remarked on other Ukrainian achievements relating to occupied Crimea and the Black Sea. He noted that pro-Ukrainian sentiments in Crimea have become more pronounced, shaking the illusion that the peninsula had come firmly under Russia's thumb.

The president also commented on Ukraine's successes in maintaining the humanitarian shipping corridor in the Black Sea despite Russia's unilateral withdrawal from the grain deal in July 2023 and subsequent threats to civilian cargo ships operating there.

Almost 50 ships have picked up cargo since the opening of the new export corridor in August, Zelensky said, and the arrival of another 50 has been announced.

The Second Parliamentary Summit of the Crimean Platform is being hosted in Prague, Czech Republic.

Since its inaugural summit on Aug. 23, 2021, it has gathered participants from dozens of countries in Europe, North America, Asia, and elsewhere, as well as non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, including the EU.

Uncertain Triumph: Ukraine picks apart Russia’s best air defenses in Crimea
The past month has not been kind to Russia’s forces in occupied Crimea. In a span of weeks, a ship, a submarine, and multiple air defense systems were destroyed. Ukraine said these targets included Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, optimistically named the Triumph. Purported videos of…

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