Crimea may become the next big battlefield that could decide the war in Ukraine.
Ben Hodges, a former commander of U.S. Army Europe and a retired Lieutenant General, said this in an interview with Insider. According to him, Ukraine will never be safe or secure or able to rebuild its economy so long as Russia retains Crimea.
"The decisive terrain for this war is Crimea. The Ukrainian government knows that they cannot settle for Russia retaining control of Crimea," said Hodges.
He believes that in the next few months, Ukraine will set the conditions for the eventual liberation of Crimea. General Hodges noted that in order to drive the Russian forces out of Crimea, the Ukrainian army needs to receive tanks and long-range precision strike weapons from the allies.
Once Crimea is isolated, Ukraine would need to employ a "wide array of long-range systems against the exposed Russian facilities and groupings in Crimea, making it untenable for them, and compelling them to leave," Hodges added.
Earlier, General Ben Hodges predicted that the Ukrainian Defense Forces would drive the Russian invaders out of temporarily occupied Crimea by the end of summer 2023.