Ukraine Monitor presents the latest news concerning internal and external matters of Ukraine – a unique country where the interests of the East and the West clash almost every day.
Date: 17 July 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
Explosions on Kerch Bridge Linking Crimea and Russia
The bridge linking Russia to Crimea was attacked in an assault that showed Ukraine’s ability to attack strategic assets deep into the Russian-controlled territory. The attack dealt another humiliating blow to the Kremlin’s prestige, and possibly to its ability to supply troops occupying Ukraine’s southern regions. The bridge has been a supply route for food, fuel, and other supplies for Russian troops invading southern Ukraine.
There were reports of explosions, which killed two people, early on June 17. Video and photos showed a section of the road bridge had sheared off. Ukrainian media outlets reported that the SBU — the country’s security service — and its naval forces were behind the assault. There is, however, no evidence to confirm the reports. Artem Dekhtiarenko, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s SBU, said that details of the operation would only be revealed “after our victory”. The extent of the damage was not immediately clear. Kyiv claims that a span has collapsed while according to Russia, the bridge surface has been damaged. The Kerch Bridge was opened in 2018 and enables road and rail travel between Russia and Crimea – a Ukrainian territory annexed by Russia. The bridge is an important resupply route for Russian forces occupying parts of southern Ukraine, notably the Russian-controlled areas of the provinces of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. The explosion closed the main conduit for Russian supplies to southern Ukraine. The peninsula is used by the Russians as a large logistical hub for moving forces and assets deep into the territory of Ukraine. “Any illegal structures used to deliver Russian instruments of mass murder are necessarily short-lived regardless of the reasons for the destruction,” Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukraine’s presidential adviser, told journalists. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, has commented on the attack on the Crimean Kerch Bridge. “The truth is that one broken Russian bridge means fewer broken Ukrainian lives,” he said in an interview with CBS. After the assault, Putin held a meeting via a video link. It was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev, the head of the occupation authorities of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov, Veniamin Kondratiev, the governor of Russia’s Krasnodar Krai, and Volodymyr Saldo, Moscow-installed acting leader of the Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine’s Kherson region. As the last of them also attended the meeting, the Kerch bridge seems vital for the Russians in the eastern part of the Kherson region.
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