For the second time in less than a year, bombs have destroyed the bridge that connects Russia to Crimea, an island in southern Ukraine that Moscow illegally annexed in 2014. side, it is a highly protected piece of infrastructure that Russia needs most.
Initial reports indicate that the eruption on Monday was not as severe as last October, when the eruption caused part of the road bridge fall into the water.
Here’s what we know about the latest attack:
In the early hours of Monday, the head of the Russian government in Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, announced on the Telegram news program that traffic on the Kerch Strait Bridge has been stopped due to an emergency.
Russia’s counter-terrorism commission later said the bridge was hit by two seaplanes in what appeared to be separate explosions.
Another Russian-appointed official in southern Ukraine, Vladimir Rogov, he wrote on the Telegraph that two spans of the bridge were destroyed. A couple was killed in the attack, and their daughter was injured, a Russian official said.
Rail operations on the bridge resumed as of Monday morning, albeit with delays, according to Russian media. Video and photos obtained by The New York Times showed the damage to the road, and Russian officials said drivers should use alternative routes.
What do Russia and Ukraine say?
Russian officials blamed Ukraine for the attacks, and Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee said it was investigating them as terrorists.
The spokesman for the Ukrainian security forces, Artem Dekhtiarenko, confirmed the attack without saying specifically that it was carried out by the Ukrainian military, in line with Kyiv’s policy of denying deliberate attacks on Russian territory. He described the attack using the word “cotton,” which Ukrainian officials use to describe bombings in Russian-controlled areas.
“We are watching with interest how one of the symbols of Putin’s regime has failed again against the military,” Dekhtiarenko said. A comment was sent on the website of Ukrinform.
Why is a bridge important?
The Kerch Strait Bridge, which was opened in 2018, is an important channel for the supply of goods to the Crimean Peninsula. It also transports Russian tourists to the area’s beaches, which are popular during the summer season.
Before launching a major offensive in February 2022, the Russian military used the bridge to transport supplies to its forces in the region, including to the military port of Sevastopol, home of the Black Sea Fleet. Since last year, the bridge has also become an important channel for reinforcements and supplies for the Russian forces that have occupied the southern part of Ukraine.
For the Kremlin, the bridge is a symbol of the alliance it is trying to create between Crimea and Russia. Russian President Vladimir V. Putin drove a car through its 12-kilometer length when it opened, and two months after it was damaged last October, it came back. he crossed when he visited for maintenance.
What are the consequences of the attack?
A day after the bridge was destroyed last October, Russia launched a months-long campaign to sabotage Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, hitting power plants and other facilities with drones and missiles.
Every attack on the bridge is celebrated by Ukrainians. But the roadblocks also apply militarily, preventing Russia from exerting its influence in an attempt to stop the invasion of Ukraine that began last month. The bridge is seen as an important route for Russian troops stationed in southern Ukraine in the regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk.
In recent months, Ukraine has made targeting Russian space a priority in its military strategy, and has used weapons launched by the United States and other related parties, according to military experts.