Article by: Kseniya Kirillova
Experts of the Centre for Research on the Army, Conversion and Disarmament believe that, in addition to economic, moral, psychological and information aspects, the Crimea energy blockade has great military significance. Over the past year and a half of Russian occupation, Crimea has been converted into a huge Russian military base, a kind of “stationary aircraft carrier” in the heart of the Black Sea region.
“That’s why cutting off power supplies to the aggressor’s military bases is an extremely effective way of reducing its combat readiness.” says Mikhail Samus, deputy director for International Affairs at the Centre for Research on the Army, Conversion and Disarmament. Samus maintains that there are currently – 25,000 troops, 30 warships, 30 tanks, 260 armoured vehicles, 80 aircraft, 40 helicopters, 80 cannon artillery units, 40 multiple rocket launching systems, and 24 S-300 anti-aircraft missiles – deployed in Crimea. The Kremlin has transferred Panzer-S1 anti-aircraft and gun systems, Bastion and Bal coastal missile systems and has announced plans to deliver other weapons to the occupied peninsula.
“We have information about Iskander tactical missile systems being possibly deployed in Crimea, including P-500 cruise missiles equipped with nuclear warheads. A P-500 can travel 2,000 km, thus reaching most European countries. In addition, a military space defense unit has been deployed to Yevpatoria; it is responsible for supervising Russian military spacecraft.” remark experts.
Even ordinary tourists notice that Crimea has been transformed into an important military base. In mid-summer, Natalia, a Ukrainian tourist visited Crimes and commented:
“It was really scary to see so many tanks. Military equipment can be seen in every city. Russian flags are everywhere and people walk around with St George ribbons pinned to their clothes. It’s psychologically very difficult to watch this aggression and militarism.”
The Centre’s experts say that such military equipment and weapons require enormous amounts of electricity.
“Now, Russian troops in Crimea are in a state of emergency and cannot fully ensure a sufficient level of combat readiness. One can only imagine the atmosphere at Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters seeing that, for example, defense forces are unable to protect the skies over Sevastopol… or imagine the morale of the crews whose families are sitting in cold dark apartments and don’t understand why “powerful Putin” can’t turn on the light.” remarks Mikhail Samus ironically.
Military analysts also emphasize the fact that “energy panic’ in Russian military forces in Crimea will greatly affect the traitors – Ukrainian officers who broke their oath and went over to Putin.
“In this regard, we at the Centre think that the Crimea energy blockade should be continued as long as possible…until the last Russian occupant leaves our land.”