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Armed Russian authorities force Ukrainians to vote in sham elections
The US could hand Ukraine game-changing weapons on a platter should Washington DC go ahead with the deployment of Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), a former US General said.
Reports emerged this week from anonymous US officials suggesting the Biden Administration is considering sending ATACMS to Kyiv in its next security package.
While the move has yet to be confirmed former commanding officer of United States Army Europe Ben Hodges noted it would deliver a serious blow to Russia’s effort to maintain control of all occupied territory.
Hodges in particular argued ATACMS would make Crimea “untenable” for Russia because a large section of its troops would become targets of renewed Ukrainian attacks.
The long-range missile system has a range of up to 190 miles, and would allow Kyiv’s forces to increase strikes against Moscow’s men.
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Hodges wrote on X, the site formerly known as Twitter: “Ukraine will soon make Crimea untenable for Russian forces, especially Black Sea Fleet. Sevastopol, Saky, Dzankoy all easily within range.”
Crimea has been the crown jewel of Vladimir Putin’s imperialistic strategy since the illegal annexation of the peninsula in 2014.
And Ukraine has repeatedly vowed its military will continue to push back until the whole country is liberated – Crimea included.
Speaking to Newsweek, Hodges added: “Crimea is the decisive terrain of this war, so isolating it and then making it untenable are the two necessary steps that lead to its liberation.”
ATACMS have a longer range than the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and M279 multiple-launch rocket systems DC has supplied to Ukraine so far.
The former US general is among several American military figures who have repeatedly called on Washington to give Kyiv long-range weaponry to better remove the Russian Army from occupied land.
The new missile system would allow Ukrainian forces to target command centers as well as ammunition depots from farther away, limiting the risks of their men and equipment being located.
Speculation about the US considering dispatching the new long-range missile system to Ukraine comes as Russia holds local elections in the occupied regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
“It constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, which Russia continues to disregard,” the Council of Europe, the continent’s foremost human rights body, said this week.
Kyiv echoed that sentiment, with the parliament saying in a statement that the balloting in areas where Russia “conducts active hostilities” poses a threat to Ukrainian lives.
Crimea is the decisive terrain of this war, so isolating it and then making it untenable are the two necessary steps that lead to its liberation.”
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Ukrainian officials have urged other countries not to recognize the results of the vote, which the Foreign Ministry called “fake elections.”
The vote also sparked the rage of the United Nations, whose members faced off with Moscow’s representative in New York on Friday.
UN Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenca said the elections “have no legal grounds.” US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood called them ”nothing more than a propaganda stunt.”
Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, defended Russia’s annexation of the regions a year ago and insisted that people “are actively and consciously voting for their future together with Russia.”
The main contender in the election is United Russia, the Putin-loyal party that dominates Russian politics, although other parties, such as the Communist Party and the nationalist Liberal Democratic party, are also on the ballots.
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