On the very day that Ukraine's military issued a very provocative statement saying its forces have destroyed a Russian S-400 missile defense system in Crimea, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed Washington's view that "Crimea is Ukraine".
The timing of Blinken's statement is interesting indeed, coming amid general stepped-up Ukrainian attacks deep inside Russian territory, including nearly a straight week of drone strikes on Moscow.
For 9 years, Russia has occupied Crimea and subjected its residents to a campaign of brutalization and repression. But the people of Ukraine have not backed down, not even after the Kremlin’s illegal and horrific invasion. Crimea is Ukraine. Russia’s aggression must end. pic.twitter.com/QXo8iczgTc— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) August 23, 2023
"For 9 years, Russia has occupied Crimea and subjected its residents to a campaign of brutalization and repression," Blinken said in a fresh video statement published Wednesday. "But the people of Ukraine have not backed down, not even after the Kremlin’s illegal and horrific invasion. Crimea is Ukraine. Russia’s aggression must end."
There have been several recent attempts to destroy the Crimean Bridge as well, used primarily for civilian vehicle traffic, but also as a vital military logistics crossing into southern Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials said Wednesday of their claimed successful attack on a S-400 battery, "The explosion completely destroyed the system, its missiles and personnel," according to the GUR military intelligence agency's words.
The GUR said it happened on the Tarkhankut Peninsula of western Crimea, and touted that "Given the limited number of such systems in the enemy's arsenal, this is a painful blow to the occupiers' air defense system."
External war monitors have tallied that there have been two prior instances of Russian S-400s being taken out, which remains a rarity - thus if confirmed this would mark the third instance of the war.
As for Blinken's new video message, it seems geared toward boosting Ukrainians' morale even amid staggering losses and increasing admissions, including in the pages of the NY Times and Washington Post and others, of a failing counteroffensive. It seems Blinken also wants to assure allies that Washington will stay the course in its support of Ukraine.
Meanwhile on the same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin told counterparts at the BRICS summit (via virtual remarks) that his country desires the end of the Ukraine war, but which was a conflict "unleashed by the West and its satellites."