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File image of a stretch of the Crimean Bridge. Alamy Stock Photo

Russia says two people killed in Ukrainian attack on Crimea bridge

The bridge to Crimea serves as a vital link for transporting supplies to Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

LAST UPDATE | 17 Jul 2023

RUSSIA HAS SAID a Ukrainian attack on the Moscow-built bridge linking annexed Crimea to the Russian mainland killed a civilian couple and wounded their child.

Moscow said two drones had hit the bridge in the early hours of Monday and blamed “the Kyiv regime.”

Traffic on the bridge was halted and officials advised stranded holidaymakers to get back to Russia through occupied Ukraine – active fighting zones.

It is the second attack on the bridge, a personal project of President Vladimir Putin, during the Kremlin’s 18-month long Ukraine offensive.

“Two civilians died: a man and a woman, driving a car on the bridge,” the Russian Investigative Committee said.

“Their daughter, a minor, was wounded.”

The committee said two drones attacked the structure at night, describing it as a “terrorist” attack.

It added it was working to “establish the persons from Ukrainian special services and armed formations involved in the organisation and execution of this crime.”

Russia’s Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAK) said the drones hit the bridge at 3.05 am local time (01.05AM Irish time).

“As a result of the terrorist act, a road component of the Crimean bridge was damaged.”

Authorities reported that the couple who died was from the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, which has also been regularly hit by Kyiv.

Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said their daughter had wounds of “medium severity.”

He assured Russian parents that children from his region brought to Crimean summer camps were safe.

At night, the Moscow-installed head of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov had reported an “emergency” on the bridge, without giving details on what had happened.

The governor of the nearby southern Russian region of Krasnodar, Veniamin Kondratyev, said he had set up helping points for people stranded in traffic.

He called on locals not to use the bridge and, if they need to get to the peninsula, go through occupied eastern Ukraine.

“If a trip is necessary, choose an alternative route through the new regions of Russia,” he said on Telegram.

Russia has halted flights to Crimea since it launched its offensive due to nearby fighting, making the bridge the only link to the mainland.

The bridge, which serves as a vital link for transporting supplies to Russian troops in Ukraine, was damaged by a truck bomb in October 2022. Moscow blamed the attack on Ukraine.

A Ukrainian source told AFP that the Ukrainian navy and SBU security service carried out the overnight attack.

“Today’s attack on the Crimean bridge is a special operation of the SBU and the navy,” the security service source said.

The strike was carried out using waterborne drones, according to the same source.

“It was difficult to reach the bridge, but in the end it was possible to do it,” the source said.

“Any illegal structures used to deliver Russian instruments of mass murder are necessarily short-lived,” Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter in a seeming allusion to the bridge attack.

“The bridge has gone to sleep again”, the SBU said on Telegram in an apparent reference to the latest strike against the link to Crimea.


Elsewhere today, Ukraine said its forces had retaken several square kilometres of territory around the eastern city of Bakhmut, which Russian forces seized in May.

Kyiv last month began its highly anticipated fightback against entrenched Russian troops after stockpiling Western weapons and building up its offensive forces.

“Over the past week, as a result of the improvement of the operational (tactical) position and alignment of the front line in the Bakhmut direction, the territory of seven sq. km (2.5 square miles) has been liberated,” Deputy Defence Minister Ganna Malyar said on Telegram.

Ukraine has recently acknowledged difficult battles and called on the United States and other allies to provide long-range weapons and artillery.

Bakhmut, once home to 70,000 people and known for its sparkling wine and salt mine, has been destroyed by the longest and bloodiest battle of the war.

In the Kupyansk area of Kharkiv region Russian forces had been “actively advancing since the end of last week,” Malyar added.

© AFP 2023 

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