In an interview with Shizuoka Shimbun, an intelligence operative familiar with the operations said the amphibious operations were being conducted as “training for the future liberation and were putting psychological pressure on russia”. The official said that special forces will continue to be deployed until Crimea is liberated.
Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in June, but ground fighting in the east and south of the country has been bogged down. However, Ukraine has achieved some success in Crimea, destroying russian ships and air defense systems. The media states that is likely that Ukraine wants to build up its achievements in the Crimean theater to dispel the mood of stagnation.
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The amphibious operations were conducted on August 24 and October 3. They were led by the Altai special forces unit, which is a part of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine.
A 29-year-old male operative from Altai provided maritime support for the landing forces in both operations. The fighter, who goes by the code name Liutyi, used a small boat to infiltrate the waters 500 to 1,000 meters off the coast of Crimea’s western shore. He used the Stinger portable surface-to-air missile system to prepare for a helicopter counterattack and provided rearguard support for the landing forces.
In the August operation, the flag of Ukraine was raised in Crimea. The October operation involved about 30 people and lasted several hours. According to the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, the forces clashed with russian troops, and there were casualties on both sides.
The Altai unit is composed of nearly a thousand people and conducts operations in various places. Liutyi also participated in the operation to recapture the Crimean oil drilling facility that russia used as a communications hub and that Ukraine recaptured in September.