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France 24

Russia claims Ukraine bombed bridge linking occupied Crimea to mainland

The strike came as Ukraine wages a counter-offensive to recapture territory occupied by Russian forces.

A STRIKE HAS damaged a bridge linking the annexed Crimean peninsula to a region of southern Ukraine partially occupied by Russia, a Russian official claimed today.

“During the night a strike hit the Chongar bridge. There are no victims,” Sergei Aksyonov, the Russia-installed governor of Crimea, said on Telegram.

The bridge connects Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, to the Ukrainian region of Kherson.

The Russia-installed governor of Kherson, Vladimir Saldo, said that Ukrainian strikes had hit “bridges” near Chongar, next to photos of what appeared to be gaping holes on a bridge.

The strike came as Ukraine wages a counter-offensive to recapture territory occupied by Russian forces.

Crimea has been regularly targeted by strikes, mostly using drones, over recent months. 

Ukraine meeting

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan will attend a Ukraine-organized meeting this weekend in Denmark, alongside representatives of multiple countries, including some that have remained neutral on Russia’s invasion, a Western official told AFP on yesterday.

The meeting in Copenhagen aims to discuss ways of achieving a “just and lasting peace” in Ukraine, the source said.

The invitees include top security officials of the United States, the European Union, and other countries that have backed Ukraine since Russia invaded last year, as well as those that have not condemned the invasion, the source added, without specifying which states.

The as-yet-unannounced meeting was first reported by the Financial Times, which cited sources familiar with the plans, saying that the meeting could include officials from India, Brazil and South Africa, though the attendees were not finalized.

Those three states, along with China, are part of the BRICS bloc with Russia, and have not joined the West in sanctioning Moscow.

The FT cited a source saying that Kyiv had asked Washington to encourage India, Brazil and South Africa, as well as China and Turkey – a NATO member that has kept good ties with Russia – to attend.

Counteroffensive success

The chief of Russian mercenary group Wagner yesterday accused Moscow’s top brass of deceiving Russians about the course of Ukraine’s offensive and pointed to Kyiv’s progress on the battlefield.

Early this month Kyiv’s military launched its counteroffensive in the east and south of the Western-backed country in an effort to claw back territory lost since last year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that Ukraine’s offensive is failing.

But Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose forces had for months led an assault for towns in eastern Ukraine including Bakhmut, accused the defence ministry of not telling the truth and losing territory to Ukrainian troops.

“They are misleading the Russian people,” he said in an audio message released by his spokespeople.

A number of villages including Pyatykhatky has been lost, Prigozhin said, pointing to a lack of arms and ammunition.

“Huge chunks have been handed over to the enemy,” he said, adding that Ukrainian troops have already sought to cross the Dnipro River, a natural border on the frontline.

“All of this is being totally hidden from everyone,” the 62-year-old said.

“One day Russia will wake up to discover that Crimea too has been handed over to Ukraine,” he said. 

– © AFP 2023

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