Key Russian bridge to Crimea is struck again as Putin vows response to attack that killed 2

Their daughter was injured and two people were killed. Before dawn on Monday, an attack damaged a key supply route for Kremlin forces in the war-torn Ukraine, temporarily closing the bridge that links Russia’s annexed Crimea to Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia ordered increased security at the Kerch Bridge (12-mile) (19-kilometer) when he made a repeated call in October 2022, blaming Moscow for the severe damage caused by an explosion.

He also assured “there will definitely be a reaction from Russia.”.

Putin stated during a televised meeting with officials, “The occurrence is yet another act of terrorism by the Kyiv government. It is an unlawful act that holds no value from a military perspective, as the Crimean bridge has not been utilized for military purposes for quite some time. Additionally, it is a ruthless act since innocent civilians were harmed and lost their lives.”

The bridge experienced a total halt in vehicle congestion on Monday, while train movement also ceased for about six hours.

The satellite images taken on Monday morning by Maxar Technologies showed serious damage to both the westbound and eastbound lanes of the bridge across the Kerch Strait, which runs parallel to the railroad bridge that appears undamaged and is located in the nearest part of the Russian mainland. At least one section of the bridge has collapsed.

The attack was conducted by two Ukrainian naval unmanned aerial vehicles, as stated by Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee.

Ukrainian Security Service spokesman Artem Degtyarenko stated that following Kyiv’s victory in the war, his agency would disclose the specifics of how the “explosion” was orchestrated. Ukrainian officials have been reticent about accepting accountability, as they have been in previous attacks. However, there seemed to be an implicit recognition.

During the winter season, Moscow responded by attacking Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, specifically focusing on the nation’s power grid. The bridge was targeted during the incident, where two of its segments were destroyed by a truck bomb, leading to several months of necessary repairs. The assault that took place in October was widely condemned as an act of terrorism.

The Ukrainian news portal RBK-Ukraina, citing a security services source, reported that the explosion on Monday was executed by what they referred to as floating drones. However, later on the Telegram messaging service, Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov mentioned that “today, the Crimea bridge was destroyed by maritime drones,” but it remains uncertain whether he was providing an official confirmation or referring to previous accounts.

After the attack, authorities from Russia showed video footage of crews picking up debris from the section of the bridge’s deck, which appeared to be sloping down towards one side and had a black sedan with a damaged passenger door open.

Putin authorities have commanded a comprehensive investigation into the incident, urging the development of specific suggestions to bolster the security of this crucial transportation facility, and ensuring the provision of utmost assistance to individuals who have been adversely affected by the disrupted traffic on the bridge.

The Bridge Kerch is a significant symbol of Moscow’s claims on Crimea and an essential land link to the illegally annexed peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. It is the longest bridge in Europe, and it plays a crucial role in Russia’s military operations in southern Ukraine, nearly 17 months into the war. The bridge cost $3.6 billion.

Since February 2022, Russia has expanded its military forces in Crimea, blaming the Kremlin for the attacks and occasional sabotage against other facilities and Russian military on the peninsula, which have occurred since Ukraine’s full-scale invasion.

Russian media reported that long lines were formed at the ferry crossing in the Kerch Strait, causing a halt in car traffic on the bridge, but acts of sabotage and attacks have not discouraged Russians from spending their holidays in Crimea.

According to the Russian state news agency Novosti RIA, drivers heading to Crimea were also stuck in a three-kilometer jam between the cities of Taganrog and Rostov-on-Don. After Moscow appointed authorities redirected motorists to take the land route to Russia through the partially occupied regions of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia, the highway in the Russian-held part of Kherson regions also experienced traffic congestion.

Ukrainian forces are launching a counteroffensive in several sections of the front line as they press forward in their attack on the bridge. It was also announced hours before Russia expected that the deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, which allows for the export of Ukrainian grain during the war, is being halted.

The deceased individuals were recognized by Russian media as Alexei and Natalia Kulik, who were en route to Crimea for a summer getaway. Kulik, a truck operator, was 40 years of age, while his spouse, a municipal education employee, was 36 years old. Their 14-year-old daughter sustained injuries to the chest and brain.

In a previous month, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar admitted that Ukraine targeted it to disrupt Russian supply chains, but Kyiv also did not initially accept blame for the bridge attack in October.

According to Marat Khusnullin, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, traffic on one side of the bridge will gradually resume after midnight on Monday (2100 GMT Monday). The authorities stated that the damage caused by the October attack was serious but did not affect the two damaged road links and the piers of the bridge beyond repair.

“Andriy Yusov, a representative for Ukraine’s military intelligence department, acknowledged that any logistical challenges pose extra difficulties for the occupying forces. He refrained from commenting further, but emphasized that the Russians utilize the peninsula as a significant hub for efficiently deploying troops and resources into Ukraine’s territory.”

“Once again, the bridge ‘fell asleep’,” states a censored rendition of a well-known lullaby shared by the Security Service of Ukraine.


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