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Kyiv troops could be in Crimea by CHRISTMAS and Russian invasion over by spring: top Zelensky aide

Mr Havrylov told Sky News that Ukrainian boots could be on the ground in Crimea within weeks

Troops from Kyiv could be in Russia-annexed Crimea by CHRISTMAS and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine will be over by spring, says one of Zelensky’s top aides

  • Volodymyr Havrylov says Kyiv forces could be back in Crimea by Christmas
  • The Deputy Defense Minister added: “By the end of spring, this war will be over”
  • Annexed Crimea has been in Russian hands since 2014 after a sham referendum
  • The retired general also said a ‘black swan’ event in Russia could hasten victory

Ukrainian forces could be back in Crimea before the new year and the Russian invasion will be over by spring, a senior Kyiv military official has claimed.

Deputy Defense Minister Volodymyr Havrylov also said his country would not hold peace talks with Russia until Putin’s soldiers left every square inch of Ukraine.

Mr Havrylov told Sky News during a visit to Britain that an unexpected ‘black swan’ event in Moscow, such as the overthrow of Putin’s regime, would strengthen Ukrainian resolve and hasten the end of the war .

He said: ‘[Russia is] interested in taking a break from this war to regroup, to bring more people from the motherland. This is the dream.

‘That’s why… we have no right to stop. We have to move forward.

Mr Havrylov told Sky News that Ukrainian boots could be on the ground in Crimea within weeks

Mr Havrylov told Sky News that Ukrainian boots could be on the ground in Crimea within weeks

“We can intervene in Crimea, for example, by the end of December. Possible, conceivable. Not excluded that this is so.

The former major general added that the conflict could be in its final months.

He said: ‘Of course […] the war will take time. But my feeling is that by the end of spring, this war will be over.

Crimea was annexed by Russia eight years ago as part of Putin’s initial bid to take over large chunks of eastern Ukraine, including the Russian-controlled Lugansk and Donetsk regions .

A sham referendum on the Black Sea peninsula, which is popular for its naval base, saw “97%” of voters in favor of joining Russia, out of a supposed turnout of 83%.

When Ukraine voted for independence from Russia in 1991, 92% of voters supported the measure. In Crimea, this figure was 54% “yes”, 37% “no”.

Vladimir Putin's faltering invasion is more than ever questioned by the Russians

Vladimir Putin’s faltering invasion is more than ever questioned by the Russians

Ukrainian leaders have been optimistic since the recapture of the regional capital Kherson two weeks ago.

Yesterday Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met President Zelensky for the first time in Kyiv.

Minister Havrylov also predicted that a “black swan” event like the fall of Putin could hasten the demise of Russian forces and hasten a Ukrainian victory.

He said: “I think Russia can face a black swan in their country, inside Russia and that can contribute to our success with Crimea.”

Havrylov added that the prospect of a nuclear attack remains unlikely, but added that Kyiv is preparing for all eventualities.

He said: “For everyone it will be fair – God knows what scenario – but he [a nuclear attack] is not [a] threat that will prevent us from continuing our war.

“There is a decision inside society in Ukraine that we are going all the way.”

Ukrainian soldiers (pictured in Donetsk today) retake swaths of stolen territory

Ukrainian soldiers (pictured in Donetsk today) retake swaths of stolen territory

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