It would have been a suicide mission, and a rather pointless one. But that is roughly the picture that Russian President Vladimir Putin painted on Wednesday when he accused Ukrainian saboteurs of trying to infiltrate Crimea and commit what he called an act of terror. On Russian state TV, newsreels even showed the supposed weapons cache the Ukrainians allegedly tried to use, including bombs fashioned out of plastic soda bottles and other improvised explosives. But the story didn’t make a lot of sense.
However decrepit and dysfunctional the Ukrainian army may be, they still have enough military factories left over from the Soviet Union to arm their soldiers, who would have no need to make their bombs using recipes out of the The Anarchist Cookbook. Besides, what would they expect to achieve with these weapons? Since annexing Crimea in 2014, the Russian military has sealed it up about as tight as its stockpiles of nuclear weapons—which, by the way, Russia has threatened to use in defending Crimea if necessary.
That means any Ukrainian scheme to get back Crimea, or even to destabilize it, using an amateurish bunch of guerilla-saboteurs, would have been stupid, senseless and self-defeating, as Putin himself admitted during a press conference held at the Kremlin on Wednesday. “It is foolish because you cannot have a positive impact on the people in Crimea in this manner,” Putin remarked. By setting off bombs in their cities? Clearly not.