Ukraine could ‘reach Crimea by Christmas with Russia war over by spring' says ex major general

21 November 2022, 16:07 | Updated: 21 November 2022, 20:01

Ukrainian troops could reached annexed Crimea by Christmas and defeat Russian forces by spring military leaders say
Ukrainian troops could reached annexed Crimea by Christmas and defeat Russian forces by spring military leaders say. Picture: Alamy

By Chris Samuel

Ukrainian troops could reached annexed Crimea by Christmas and defeat Russian forces by spring, a senior military official has said.

Deputy defence minister and retired major general Volodymyr Havrylov, vowed that Ukraine would never cease fighting, nine months on from the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s invasion on February 24.

Mr Havrylov said Kyiv had ruled out peace talks with Russia until its soldiers completely left Ukraine, including Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.

Speaking during a visit to London last week, Mr Havrylov told Sky News: "There is a decision inside the society in Ukraine that we are going up to the end.

"It doesn’t matter what kind of scenario is on the table.

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"People paid a lot of blood, a lot of efforts to what we have already achieved.

"And everybody knows that any delay or frozen conflict is only the continuation of this war against the existence of Ukraine as a nation."

Mr Havrylov suggested that an unexpected ‘black swan’ (used to describe to something unpredictable, such as the Putin being toppled, could strengthen the resolve of Ukraine.

He insisted that his country had no choice but to continue the fight through what's expected to be a bitterly cold winter, as any pause would give Russia time to replenish their forces.

"We can step in Crimea, for example, by the end of December. Possible, possible. Not excluded that it be so," he said.

"That’s why…we have no right to stop. We have to advance."

He acknowledged that if Russia is able to reinforce, the military must be prepared for a long fight.

"Of course, the war will take some time," Mr Havrylov said.

"But my feeling is that by the end of the spring, the war will be over."

His prediction comes as Ukraine reclaimed the port city of Kherson in an embarrassing blow for Vladimir Putin.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Russia’s withdrawal marks another ‘strategic failure’ for Moscow.

President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the city's recapture as a ‘historic day’ and told troops that the retreat signified the ‘beginning of the end of the war’.

On his first visit to the Ukrainian capital as PM, Rishi Sunak told Mr Zelensky, ‘we are with you all the way’ and said it ‘deeply humbling’ to be there.

The former Chancellor said he was "proud of how the UK stood with Ukraine from the very beginning", adding, 'I am here today to say the UK and our allies will continue to stand with Ukraine, as it fights to end this barbarous war and deliver a just peace."

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