Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned US diplomats from the US embassy in Moscow to protest recent comments made by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan about the US supporting Ukrainian strikes on Crimea.
Russia has controlled Crimea since 2014, but Ukraine and its Western backers don’t recognize the peninsula as Russian territory. That means the Biden administration’s ban on Ukraine using weapons inside Russia doesn’t apply to Crimea.
But from Moscow’s perspective, US-supported attacks on Crimea are just as provocative as attacks on elsewhere in Russia. “It is time for Washington to learn that any form of aggression against Russia will continue to be met with the strongest possible response,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The ministry said Sullivan was “effectively endorsing strikes” on Crimea.
Sullivan’s position is not new, as the administration has maintained throughout the war that Ukraine can use US weapons on Crimea. In July 2022, when asked by Antiwar.com if the ban on Ukraine using the HIMARS rocket systems to target Russian territory applies to Crimea, the State Department replied, “Crimea is Ukraine.”
The US backs Ukrainian attacks on Crimea even though Secretary of State Antony Blinken has acknowledged that an assault on the peninsula is a “red line” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials still insist that expelling Russia from Crimea is one of their war goals despite the fact that most Crimeans are happy they’re part of Russia. Ukraine would need to regain a significant portion of territory Russia controls to the north of Crimea to be able to launch an offensive to take the peninsula.