The symbolic target that Ukraine plans to hit. “We will do this in the first half of the year

The symbolic target that Ukraine plans to hit. “We will do this in the first half of the year
The symbolic target that Ukraine plans to hit. “We will do this in the first half of the year

In recent weeks, the Ukrainian military has carried out a series of attacks on Russian oil refineries and ports. Most recently, on Tuesday, April 2, Kiev struck with long-range drones a refinery and a drone factory in Tatarstan, more than 1,200 kilometers from the border.

Behind these attacks is the Ukrainian spy agency, which has set its sights on another target: the Kerch bridge, about 19 kilometers long, which connects Crimea to Russia.

Senior officials from Ukraine’s military intelligence service (GUR) indicate that it is preparing a third attempt to attack the bridge after two previous attempts to blow it up, claiming its destruction is “inevitable”.

The importance of the Kerchi Bridge

For Putin, the bridge has become a symbol of the illegal annexation since 2014 and is a key land supply route for Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

For Kiev, the bridge is equally a symbol of the illegal annexation of the peninsula. Its destruction would strengthen Ukraine’s campaign to liberate Crimea and boost morale on and off the battlefield, where Kiev’s forces are gradually being pushed back, The Guardian notes.

How a possible Ukrainian attack would play out is unclear, and there are serious doubts about the GUR’s ability to carry out a special operation against such a well-defended and obvious target.

Russia has taken extensive measures to protect the bridge, bolstering air defenses and deploying a “target barge” as a decoy for incoming guided missiles.

However, GUR believes that it can take the bridge out of service soon, more precisely in the coming months.

“We will do this in the first half of 2024,” an official told The Guardian, adding that Kirilo Budanov, the head of Ukrainian intelligence, already has “most of the means to achieve this goal.”

He was following a plan approved by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to “minimize” Russia’s naval presence in the Black Sea.

When was the bridge attacked before?

The Kerchi Bridge has been hit and repaired twice in the past year and a half.

The bridge was first attacked with explosives on October 8, 2022, and two sections of it collapsed into the water. The attack was carried out with a trap truck, and the explosion affected a train loaded with fuel, which caught fire.

Then, on July 17, 2023, a 3:00 a.m. raid by Ukrainian maritime drones caused extensive damage to the road section, which parallels a separate rail section used by Russia to transport tanks and supplies.

If the bridge were permanently compromised, Moscow would have to transport military supplies by road through occupied southern Ukraine.

The route would pass through the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, which Russia partially captured in spring 2022. Ukrainian officials believe this would significantly affect the Kremlin’s ability to launch offensives at a time when its ground forces are advancing.

Officials have indicated that Western weapons would allow Ukraine to destroy the bridge more quickly, and Zelenskiy has repeatedly asked Berlin for its Taurus long-range missile system.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has so far refused, arguing that this would amount to his country taking a direct role in the war with Russia and a dangerous escalation.

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The article is in Romanian

Tags: symbolic target Ukraine plans hit year


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