Ukraine claims it carried out an overnight operation in Crimea

Updated Aug 24, 2023, 7:53am EDT
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks at the press conference after the opening session of Crimea Platform conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, 23 August 2023. The Crimea Platform – is an international consultation and coordination format initiated by Ukraine. OLEG PETRASYUK/Pool via REUTERS
Jenna Moon/

Ukraine carried out an overnight special operation in Russian-annexed Crimea and raised its flag in the area, AFP reported. The operation, carried out jointly with the Ukrainian Navy, resulted in Russian “losses,” including of personnel and equipment, AFP noted, citing information shared on Telegram by Ukraine’s military intelligence.

The overnight operation follows Ukraine's apparent attack on a Russian missile base in Crimea on Wednesday. Ukraine has been escalating its strikes on the Crimean Peninsula, which operates as a key point for Russian forces to receive equipment and personnel. A key goal of Ukraine's ongoing counteroffensive is to cut off Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, thereby making Russian forces in the area totally reliant on vulnerable air and sea connections.1

Western defense officials earlier said that Ukraine wasn't focusing its efforts in the right areas. Speaking to The New York Times, six separate officials alleged that Ukraine needed to change tack to successfully conduct its counteroffensive. The officials said that Ukrainian troops were too spread out across the country's southern front line, and needed to unite in one area.2

Comments from Western officials are part of an emerging narrative that paints Ukraine's efforts so far as disappointing, war historian Lawrence Freedman writes in his newsletter. Questions are mounting over whether Ukraine can win this war, Freedman notes, but "this gloom is overdone." In recent weeks, several news articles have circulated criticizing Ukrainian forces, but "it is one of the clichés of strategy that events are unlikely to unfold in ways that meet the timetable and targets of a plan of campaign," Freedman writes.3