New satellite images show Russian trenches across Crimea, indicating that Moscow is preparing to defend the region ahead of an expected spring offensive from Ukraine, according to New report from The Washington Post.
Photographs show that miles of trench defenses were built in a few weeks, many along bodies of water.
Ukraine has pledged to take back Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014, and Kiev has said it will not consider peace talks unless Russia leaves all occupied territories. Crimea is connected to the Ukrainian mainland by a narrow isthmus.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Crimea last month to mark the ninth anniversary of its annexation from Ukraine, arriving in the peninsula just a day after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest over alleged war crimes. He stressed the strategic importance of holding on to the region.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 was widely condemned by the international community, and the United States has long believed the peninsula remains Ukrainian territory, though the Biden administration has been vague on the issue of Crimea in relation to eventual peace talks.
Russia’s war on Ukraine has been going on for more than a year, and Ukraine now appears to be preparing for a spring counteroffensive that could begin as soon as this month.
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