Moscow warns West of ‘retaliatory blow’

    Kyiv is openly readying for a new attack on Russian territory, with the support of its Western backers, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.

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    Any Western-backed Ukrainian attack against Russia’s Crimean Bridge or Crimea itself will be met with a powerful revenge strike from Moscow, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.

    The warning follows a recent post by Ukraine’s envoy to the UN, Sergey Kislitsa, which had a threatening tone, implying that the bridge connecting the Russian peninsula to the Krasnodar Region will not be standing by the end of the year.

    According to Zakharova, Kyiv is openly preparing for a new attack on the Crimean Bridge, with the support of the West. She told a press briefing on Friday that, on the eve of May 9, Russia’s annual Great Victory Day commemorating the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, “the Kyiv regime and its Western masters are hatching plans for new terrorist attacks on Russian territory.”

    “I would like to again warn Washington, London, Brussels, that any aggressive actions against Crimea are not only doomed to failure but will also be met with a retaliatory blow,” Zakharova said.

    The inherent right of self-defence

    The United Nations charter 51 says: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.”

    Under International Humanitarian Law (IHL), a defending country generally has the right to strike behind enemy lines in a war situation if certain conditions are met. These conditions include that the strike has to be necessary for the defence of the country and its population and the strike is proportionate to the threat posed by the enemy base or structure.

    The Crimean peninsula is used by the oppressor (Russia) to launch attacks on Ukrainian soil and to stockpile weapons and ammunition to be used in attacking on Ukrainian soil. Even if the annexation of the Crimean peninsula would be considered legal, which is a matter of debate between Russia and the West, the defender has the right to defend itself, including attacking behind enemy lines.

    Despite the Crimean Bridge being a civilian structure and hence considered a civilian target, the bridge is used by the Russian military and significantly contributes to the operations of the Russian military, making it much easier for the military to transport and maintain the weapons capacity in the Crimean peninsula.

    In the light of repelling the oppressing forces and making it harder for the oppressor to maintain adequate support of its troops, the destruction of the Crimean Bridge would be a significant strategic advantage for the Ukrainian forces in the fight against the Russian invasion forces. Calling legitimate self-defence a terrorist attack is simply an attempt to deny Ukraine’s right to defend itself, and thus mostly a failed attempt at propaganda.

    Russia can’t seriously claim Ukraine’s defence as terrorist attacks after launching an invasion on foreign soil and the suppressed defender is merely fighting to defend itself. Or does Russia actually think that they have “the right” to attack Ukraine, but Ukraine is not allowed to fight back?


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