“The decisive terrain for this war is Crimea. The Ukrainian government knows that they cannot settle for Russia retaining control of Crimea,” Hodges said.
Hodges stressed that Ukraine would need long-range precision strike weapons like the longer-range ATACMS missiles that can be fired from a truck-mounted HIMARS launcher in order to successfully boot Russia out of Crimea.
Liberating Crimea could be achieved by isolating the peninsula via air and land attacks to sever and disrupt Russia’s main links to Crimea, including the Kerch Bridge, Hodges noted.
In his words, once Crimea is isolated, Ukraine would need to employ a “wide array of long-range systems against the exposed Russian facilities and groupings in Crimea, making it untenable for them, and compelling them to leave”.
In this regard, Hodges criticized the Biden administration for unwillingness to provide longer-range weapons, noting that Russian systems in Crimea and elsewhere are “killing innocent Ukrainians”.