Four days after the strategic Crimean Bridge that connects Russia to the occupied Ukrainian peninsula reopened, Moscow was forced to close it again due to another attack.
A drone assault on an ammunition depot in the Krasnogvardeysky district has claimed the lives of residents within a 5 km radius of the area to be evacuated and to suspend rail traffic on the Kerch bridge in Crimea. Social media relationships suggested that an oil depot had been hit in Oktyabr’skiy, south of Krasnogvardeysky town and near an airfield.
The attack took place more than 200 kilometers from the bridge, but Sergei Aksyonov, the governor of Russia-installed occupied Crimea, told Telegram that rail traffic will be suspended « to minimize risks ». The main railway line from the bridge crosses Crimea and eventually branches off to Krasnogvardeysky, a small town roughly in the center of occupied Russian territory.
Earlier, Aksyonov reported on an attempted drone raid on infrastructure in the same district, Russian state media TASS reported. POLITICO was unable to verify these reports.
The Kerch Bridge, completed in 2018, four years after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal occupation of Crimea, is a key land route on the peninsula, supplying Moscow’s forces fighting in southern Ukraine with troops, weapons and fuel.
Its closure on Saturday is the second in a week, after the bridge was hit by two drones on Monday, killing two civilians and collapsing part of the road structure. One lane was reopened and the railway line continued to operate.
The bridge was also the target of an attack during Ukraine’s counter-offensive last October.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the US security conference in Aspen on Friday that the Kerch Bridge was a military target, according to a Reuters relationship. “This is the route used to feed warfare with munitions and this is done on a daily basis. And it militarizes the Crimean peninsula,” Zelensky said.
“For us, this is understandably an enemy structure built outside international law and all applicable norms. So understandably that’s a focus for us. And a target that is bringing war, not peace, must be neutralized, » the Ukrainian leader said, in comments relayed through an interpreter.
No one has yet come forward to take responsibility for this week’s attacks.