“… the burden of maintaining Crimea, e.g., its freshwater sources, and power, as well as sustaining Russia’s stagnant economy amidst rising domestic disaffection grows every day. Moreover, NATO is more and more probing the Black Sea and has upgraded its relationship with Ukraine, offering it enhanced strategic partnership and U.S. aid is again coming.
“Therefore, it is no surprise that Ukrainian sources report that the Crimea situation is developing towards the capture of Ukraine territories that give access to water from the Dnieper [sic] River. Russia has increased the military contingent in and around Crimea to about a reported 80,000 troops and concentrated its engineering units in the north of the Crimea. They built a water supply canal to Dzhankoi and a water-pumping station there. It is therefore entirely possible that an operation will soon be launched to capture freshwater from Ukraine in order to service Crimea and make Ukraine rather than Russia pay for it. Russia actually conducted Command Post Exercises (CPX) to capture Tavriisk (a small town where the canal starts from the Dnieper).