The Russian authorities may in the near future increase pressure on Ukraine, implementing various scenarios of aggression. This was stated by the former special representative of the US State Department for Ukraine Kurt Volcker. In his opinion, the situation in Ukraine will aggravate even more, “if Russia feels enthusiasm after the US withdraws from Afghanistan.”
“They (the Russian authorities) may try to close the Sea of Azov to commercial shipping, – said Volker in an interview with the “Crimea.Realii” project. “By controlling Crimea and their Russian coast, they can say that all of this is Russian territorial waters or that it is unsafe to go there more (on ships).”
According to the American diplomat, Moscow “can make a ground invasion in the direction of Mariupol.” “They can declare that the reservoirs (Kakhovskoe reservoir and the North Crimean canal), from where water was previously supplied to Crimea, should logically be part of Crimea, and then they can move deep into (Ukraine) and capture them,” the diplomat described the possible plans of the Russian manuals.
In addition, the Russian military “can capture more areas of the Black Sea, arguing that access there is closed due to urgent military needs.” Finally, the Kremlin “can recognize the so-called people’s republics (LPR and DPR) as independent states.”
Kurt Volcker does not exclude that an exacerbation may occur already during the Crimean Platform summit and the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence – on 23 and 24 August.
“The situation this year is actually more dangerous than last. Putin (Russian President Vladimir Putin) can do many things aimed at escalating the conflict, exactly at the time when Ukraine will celebrate the 30th anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union, ”the American diplomat emphasized.
Earlier, he announced that he would participate in the Crimean Platform summit on 23 August. Volcker did not rule out that in the future Russia will also be able to participate in this summit, but only on one condition. “I believe that Russia should be invited when they agree to return Crimea,” the diplomat emphasized.
At the same time, Kurt Volcker believes that Ukraine will not be able to recapture Crimea. “I do not believe that Ukraine has the military potential to defeat Russia. We say that in the Donbas, not a group of separatists, but troops under the command of Russia – Russian-trained and equipped forces, Russian intelligence. Russia will provide them with all the equipment and all the resources they need to fight. So I do not believe that Ukraine can or should try to defeat Russia by military means, ”he said.
Volcker believes that Russia needs to be influenced by political methods. “This is a question of putting another pressure on Russia: so that over time and with the help of sanctions, with the help of political pressure, Russia will decide to end the war. But now Russia is not in such a situation, ”he concluded.
Kurt Volcker was the US State Department’s Special Representative for Ukraine from 2017 to 2019.
Earlier, Russian military expert Yuri Fedorov suggested, that during military exercises, which take place from August to September 2021, Russia may “undertake a provocation in order to hinder or disrupt the holding of the Crimean Platform summit.”
On August 9, large-scale military exercises began in Russia and Ukraine. Russia plans to conduct them not only on the territory of the country, but also in the annexed Crimea, in the separatist regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and at its military bases in Armenia.
Recently, the Ukrainian delegation at a meeting of the UN Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security announced the ongoing build-up of Russia’s military potential in the Azov-Black Sea region and called for the restoration of free shipping there.