Crimean Bridge Blast: Does It Affect Russia’s War Objectives?

Crimean Bridge Blast: Does It Affect Russia’s War Objectives?

by Swarajya Staff - Sunday, October 9, 2022 10:48 AM IST
Crimean Bridge Blast: Does It Affect Russia’s War Objectives?Crimean Bridge after the explosion on 8 October (Photo: Twitter)
  • In Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine, the bridge is a critical link for supplies to south-eastern Ukraine.

In May 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin inaugurated the Crimean bridge by leading a convoy of trucks. He was himself behind the wheel of a Kamaz truck.

The 19-km bridge was conceptualised after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and cost over $3 billion.

In the early hours of Saturday (8 October), an explosion decimated a section of the bridge four years after inauguration day.

Three people were killed as a truck exploded on the roadside of the bridge.

The consequential impact was felt on the rail bridge running alongside, as the fuel tanks moving on the rail tracks caught fire. The roadside part of the bridge collapsed, while the rail road was rendered inoperable.

From a strategic perspective, the Crimean bridge connects the export ports on the Azov sea to the Black Sea. In the ongoing war against Ukraine, the bridge is a critical link for supplies to south-eastern Ukraine.

Following the explosion, there were claims from the Russian side that the damage to the bridge had been contained and reopened for traffic, both rail and road, after a few hours.

The Russian defence ministry emphasised that it could move troops to the battlefields in Ukraine through land and sea, bypassing Crimea. Ferries to and from Crimea to the Russian mainland were also operating as usual later in the day, as per a Financial Times report.

However, Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the blast thus far.

Analysts are basing their calculations on how the Russians would now move their resources to Crimea and if the recently annexed territories, mainly Kherson, could be deployed to complement Russia’s war efforts.

While Russians are confident of repairing the bridge and sustaining the supplies through both land and sea, there are concerns about supply routes through Donetsk People’s Republic, Lugansk People’s Republic, and the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.

In Ukraine, the leader of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s party announced that it was the illegal Russian construction that was beginning to catch fire and that because it was explosive, it would have exploded sooner or later.

He ended his note on Telegram by saying "and this is just the beginning," stopping short of accepting responsibility for the attack.

The Ukrainian postal services joined in too, announcing that it was issuing postal stamps to celebrate the fall of the bridge. This is after the postal service commemorated the sinking of Moskva, one of Russia’s flagship cruisers.

The impact of the explosion was felt in Moscow as well. Only a few hours after the explosion, the Russian defence ministry reportedly promoted Sergei Surovikin, Russia’s air force chief, as the primary commander of the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

Surovikin is remembered for the Russian intervention in Syria, which included the aerial attack on Aleppo.

Agitated war observers and bloggers say Putin must attack civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

Moscow, for now, is saying the supplies are moving smoothly en route to its troops in the south, while Crimea had enough fuel for 15 days.

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