Moscow’s objective – gain land corridor to Crimea by seizing Mariupol, Ukrainian analyst says

Leonid Polyakov

Leonid Polyakov 

2017/03/15 • Analysis & Opinion, Military analysis, Russia

Although most observers recognize that Moscow is treating the Minsk Accords as a dead letter, few of them have focused on a more serious aspect of the Kremlin’s current policy in Ukraine: its effort to seize Mariupol and thus gain a land corridor to Russian-occupied Crimea, Leonid Polyakov says.

Kseniya Kirillova

Kseniya Kirillova

The former Ukrainian deputy defense minister and current head of the experts’ council at Kyiv’s Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies tells Radio Liberty’s Kseniya Kirillova that continuing Russian attacks in the direction of Mariupol clearly have that as their goal.

But Mariupol, a city of more than half a million residents, is important for Moscow for other reasons as well: it is a major transportation hub with an airport and deep water port that would allow the movement of goods and services into and out of that region, and it has three major metallurgy plants that produce military goods Russia needs.

At the same time, Polyakov continues, Moscow has other reasons to renew fighting along the demarcation line. It wants to push Ukrainian forces back from the administrative centers of the regions it occupies. It wants to keep morale among its forces high. And it has not given up plans for “occupying new territories” or for covering the covert introduction of more troops under cover of fighting.

And not least of all, Moscow is interested in provoking a response from Ukrainian forces in order to present its version of the conflict in which Russia supposedly is interested only in peace while Ukraine is the one doing the fighting. Given media coverage of what has been going on around Mariupol, it has had some success in that regard.

At present, there is no clear indication that Moscow will in the near term launch a major attack in the eastern part of Ukraine, Polyakov says; but “Ukrainians must be prepared for the worst possible scenario.” After all, “the Kremlin’s adventurism shows that this can occur at any moment.”


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Dagwood Bumstead

    And just how does the dwarf think he can seize the land bridge, and more importantly hold it? For the land bridge to be secure he would have to seize all of the Ukraine east of the Dnipro. A corridor would be vulnerable to constant flank attacks by both regular forces and guerrillas. He’d need his whole army for such an operation, and this would leave the Far East vulnerable to a Chinese takeover.

    Furthermore, his troops would have to fight every inch of the way and the casualties would be horrendous given Dwarfstan’s losses in the Donbas so far. All bridges would be blown up before advancing Dwarfstanian troops could reach them. By the time they reached Perekop (assuming they would even get that far) they would no longer have the strength to hold the territory.

    • Murf

      One thing the Ukrainians have proven beyond a doubt; they are going to fight until they can’t hold a position, they will fall back to the next position and start the whole process all over again. Often as not what they defending is compleatly destroyed in the process.

      • Oknemfrod

        Not to mention that as of late, more often than not, every time they’ve been attacked, not only they’ve held their positions intact but actually gained ground by dislodging the scum from their own positions. Don’t know an English word for this modus operandi but if translated from Ukrainian directly, it would sound as “the leapfrog tactic”.

        • Murf

          “Block and Counter Punch” Just like in Boxing.
          And yes the Ukrainians are getting very good at it.
          I hope they will up the ante and conduct a serious counter attack with mechanized troops that really puts the Russians on edge and leave no doubt who got their a$$s handed to the.

          • Oknemfrod

            Yup, that’s a good one. What you describe afterward looks like a TKO.

  • Steve

    I don’t believe this article. So little so late. This “Land Corridor” has been discussed for over two years now. Stratfor.com even ran it as one of the four possible scenarios of Russia taking Eastern Ukraine. In ALL the scenarios Russia’s weak link is the supply and communication lines that would be subject to attack as well as the greater size of the occupation force Russia would have to maintain to keep control of the land and the people. Never mind any rivers to be crossed. As others have posted Russia will find it a Pyrrhic Victory at best.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The dwarf could have taken the corridor in March or April 2014, but now it’s out of the question even if he simultaneously attacks from the Crimea and Transnistria. The Transnistrian forces are minimal and would become mincemeat in short order. As for an attack from the Crimea, doing so across the isthmus over a narrow front will result in heavy casualties.

  • Murf

    If Russia wants Mariupol they are going to have to Seriously escalate the war. Right now they can’t capture a beauty parlor defended by Blue Haired Little Old Ladies.
    At a minimum they will need to commit air power. Lots of it. Ukraine is not the Syrian Rebels or ISIS. they can make air attacks expensive.
    They will probably need to conduct an amphibious landing and an airborne assault.
    A determined Brigade can hold the city easily and the Marines seem to be determined.
    If they are not, the Azov boys will be there in a hurry(with or without orders.) to sort things out.

    • zorbatheturk

      And it would be pretty hard for Putin to pretend that ruSSian bombers and fighters in Ukrainian airspace are being manned by ” volunteers.” You can’t just borrow a MiG from a ruSSian airbase and fly off into the deep blue sky, fully loaded with missiles.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        Not to mention that miners can quickly learn how to handle an AK-47, but handing a MiG-29 or Su-25 is a different matter entirely. And the dwarf can hardly claim that hundreds of MiGs were hidden in old coal mines. That nonsense was hardly credible when it concerned T-72s, where MiGs are concerned it simply won’t wash.

  • Dirk Smith
    • slavko

      Is there a reason for this crap?

      • Dirk Smith

        Ask the kremlin.

        • slavko

          Why is the Ukrainian flag upside down dufus??

          • Andrew Chmil

            1918 FLAG!!! —MORON!!!

        • slavko

          Why are you using NaZI SYMBOLS?

          • Dirk Smith

            LOL. Open a history book, vatnik.

          • slavko

            History books show that when Ukraine was under the USSR, her flag was RED with a yellow/blue flag in the upper left hand color. That was 1918. History books also show nazi symbols that you hide behind. This makes you THE vatnik! neo-nazi are everywhere in Russia. Historians and scholars point out that Russia of all nations has the greatest number of fascist parties. Ukraine doesn’t need what your picture shows, as your picture subjugates Ukraine to the fascist Russian point of view.
            Wake up!!

          • Dirk Smith

            Hardly. If not for the Azov regiment, Mariupol would have been taken two years ago. Your right about the mongol neo-Nazi parties; they’re part of the Tambov mafia’s government. Quit watching RT. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/252c9d402e68f1b0e2dc10745a20afcfa013a97c36c9972238ab53c04bd4aa41.jpg

          • slavko

            novorossiya is an imperial russian myth and propaganda!! and you are now pushing its agenda.

          • Dirk Smith

            LOL. I’ll share your hilarious comments with my Aidar friends when I’m in Kyiv next month.

          • slavko

            I understand that war is war, but it doesn’t mean that humans have to turn into what the roles that the Moskal are playing. If that’s the case, then why bother being Ukrainian, just be a Moskal!! Something for you to be proud of…
            https://www.kyivpost.com/article/content/war-against-ukraine/governor-of-luhansk-region-accuses-aidar-of-terrorizing-the-region-385054.html

          • Andrew Chmil

            He evidently DOES watch RT… Just as Bloomberg News has LEONID BERSHIDSKY REPEAT THE SAME LIES ABOUT THE AZOV SYMBOL, A **DELIBERATE** LIE!

            slavko is just IGNORANT & reads RT BS!

          • Andrew Chmil

            slavko …. you are INDEED !!! —- IGNORANT!!!

            I had a post on this very topic with THAT ANTI-UKE @SS om Bloomberg, “BirdShitsky.

            HE ALSO RELIES ON IGNORANCE!!!

            Try reading RT & their IGNORANT “fellow journalists” LESS!!!
            Tuman!

        • slavko

          You must be working for the Kremlin, aren’t you? This is what the Kremlin’s propaganda is all about!!

          • Dirk Smith

            LOL. Coward.

      • Andrew Chmil

        IT IS NOT a “neo-Nazi symbol” — DUMMY!

        “and the Ukrainian flag upside down” — 1918 flag!

        OPEN UP A HISTORY BOOK OR TWO!!!
        You are as STUPID AS THE MONHOLS!!!