Ukraine could take back Crimea eight years after Russia invaded

If Ukraine wins the war, they may move their sights on to Crimea (Pictures: EPA)

Ukraine is proving it is possible to beat Russia, making Crimea ripe for recapture, defence experts say.

The enforced retreat of one of the world’s most powerful militaries has made US officials think reclaiming Crimea may not be as impossible as previously thought.

One American officer told The Telegraph it was ‘a distinct possibility which can no longer be discounted’.

They added: ‘It is clear that Russia no longer has the ability or willpower to defend key positions, and if the Ukrainians succeed in their goal of recapturing Kherson, then there is a very real possibility that it will ultimately be able to recapture Crimea.’

US deputy assistant secretary of defence Laura Cooper said Ukraine will be able to use American weapons to take the peninsula.

She added: ‘And just to be clear, Crimea is Ukraine.’

Vladimir Putin called the comments ‘extremely dangerous’, branding them ‘evidence of direct US involvement in the conflict’.

Locals walks with bicycles in front of a damaged cafe in the recently recaptured village of Petropavlivka near the Kupyansk city in Kharkiv's area, Ukraine.

Kharkiv is one of the regions Russian troops have retreated from (Picture: EPA)
Ukrainian soldiers have shocked the world with their recent victories over Russia (Picture: Getty)

The world has marvelled at Ukraine’s ability to fight against such a notorious military, fuelling hopes they will win the war.

If Ukraine does drive Russia from its land completely, it may then turn to Crimea – which was illegally annexed by Moscow in 2014.

Crimea was transferred to Ukraine in Soviet times and Putin wanted to ‘return Crimea to Russia’ more than two decades later. The majority of the peninsula’s population are ethnically Russian.

Moscow held a referendum a month after it invaded Crimea, claiming the results showed 96.77% of people wanted to be part of Russia – this outcome was rejected as bogus by the west.

Putin declared Crimea was fully integrated into Russia in July 2015.

It was believed Moscow was too powerful for the west to take on but Ukraine’s recent victories seem to have changed that now.

Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 and declared it officially part of Russia in July 2015 (Picture: Reuters)

Ukrainian forces appear to once again be making lightning advances through the eastern and southern parts of their country.

Russian troops were forced to retreat from Kherson and Kharkiv – areas annexed by the Kremlin just days ago.

Putin also finalised the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia in defiance of international law and global condemnation.

Earlier this week, both houses of the Russian parliament ratified treaties making the regions part of Russia.

The formalities followed Kremlin-orchestrated ‘referendums’ in the areas, rubbished as a sham by Ukraine.

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