Major bridge connecting Crimea to Russia heavily damaged as war in Ukraine escalates; Moscow responded with barrage of missiles

Major bridge connecting Crimea to Russia heavily damaged as war in Ukraine escalates; Moscow responded with barrage of missiles

Russia has responded with multiple rocket and missile attacks on civilian targets inside Ukraine after a vital bridge connecting the Crimea to the Russian mainland was heavily damaged in what was reportedly a suicide bombing over the weekend.

According to multiple reports and several videos of the attack posted online and on social media, a significant section of the bridge had collapsed, and several rail cars believed to be holding fuel were seen on fire. The bridge facilities vehicle and rail traffic and is considered vital to Russia’s ongoing operations in Ukraine. Loss off the bridge would severely hamper Moscow’s ability to supply its military and conduct counteroffensives in the area.

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“Whether it was an ATACMS strike, or explosive sabotage to the train, the destruction of the Kerch Bridge is going to have massive implications for Russian logistics,” Canadian security commentator Colby Badhwar noted on Twitter. “There is now only one railway supplying Russian forces in the west, and it’s just 34km from Ukrainian lines.”

The attack on the 11-mile-long Kerch bridge, which spans the Sea of Azov, was followed by missile strikes launched by Russian forces against civilian targets in Ukraine, including the capital of Kyiv, per The Associated Press, which reported:

A Russian missile barrage that crumbled apartment buildings and houses in Ukraine’s city of Zaporizhzhia killed at least dozen people, Ukrainian officials said Sunday as Moscow strained to enforce its takeover of illegally annexed territory.

The blasts that collapsed at least one high-rise residential building and blew out the windows of others came from six missiles launched in Russian-occupied areas of the Zaporizhzhia region, the Ukrainian air force said. The region is one of four Russia claimed as its own this month, but the regional capital remains under Ukrainian control.

The attacks drew widespread condemnation, especially from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has accused Russia – and President Vladimir Putin – of war crimes.

“Again, Zaporizhzhia. Again, merciless attacks on civilians, targeting residential buildings, in the middle of the night,” Zelenskyy wrote in a Telegram post.

The AP added: “Hours after the explosion, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced that the air force chief, Gen. Sergei Surovikin, would now command all Russian troops in Ukraine. Surovikin, who this summer was placed in charge of troops in southern Ukraine, had led Russian forces in Syria and was accused of overseeing a bombardment that destroyed much of Aleppo.”

Zelenskyy did not take responsibility for the attack but he did acknowledge it in an address.

“Today was not a bad day and mostly sunny on our state’s territory,” he said. “Unfortunately, it was cloudy in Crimea. Although it was also warm.”

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, said videos of the bridge appear to indicate that the explosion “is likely to increase friction in Russian logistics for some time” but it won’t prevent Russia from supplying its troops in Ukraine.

“The collapsed lane of the road bridge will restrict Russian military movements until it is repaired, forcing some Russian forces to rely on the ferry connection for some time,” the institute noted. “Russian forces will likely still be able to transport heavy military equipment via the railroad.”

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s forces noted on Sunday that heavy fighting continued around the enclaves of Bakhmut and Avdiivka in the eastern Donetsk region, where Russian forces claim to have made some minor progress.

Clearly, neither side is backing down and it looks like the war will continue to drag on, perhaps for years.

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