Russians commanders in Ukraine look upon Crimea as a vital link in their supply chain. However, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that the peninsula is under threat and has vowed to retaliate.
Russian troops have occupied Crimea since 2014 and have used the territory throughout the war as a staging ground. Shoigu said Ukrainian forces are planning to attack using US-made HIMARS rocket launchers and British Storm Shadow missiles. He warned that this would trigger "immediate strikes" on what he called "decision-making centers."
Shoigu said, "The use of those missiles outside the zone of the special military operation would amount to a full-scale engagement in the conflict by the US and the UK."
Ukrainian leaders see the peninsula as their land. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commander in chief of the armed forces, said his soldiers are doing "everything possible" to liberate all their territory. He added, however, that they are facing "fierce resistance."
Ukrainian civilians came under another wave of attack drones in an overnight bombardment on Tuesday that lasted for hours. Leaders in Kyiv said their air defenses managed to shoot down most of them.