Four days after reopening the strategic Crimean bridge connecting Russia with the occupied Ukrainian peninsula, Moscow was forced to close it again due to another attack.
A drone attack on an ammunition depot in Krasnogvardeysky district has residents within one radius 5 km radius evacuate the region and stop rail traffic on the Kerch Bridge to Crimea. social media reports indicated that an oil depot was attacked in Oktyabr’skiy, south of the town of Krasnogvardeysky and near an airfield.
The attack came more than 200 kilometers from the bridge, but Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-installed governor of occupied Crimea, told Telegram that train services were being suspended “to minimize the risk”. The main railway line from the bridge runs through Crimea and eventually branches off to Krasnogvardeysky, a small town roughly in the center of Russian-occupied territory.
Previously, Aksyonov had reported on an attempted drone attack on infrastructure in the same district, as reported by the Russian state media TASS. POLITICO could not verify these reports.
The Kerch Bridge, completed in 2018, four years after Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally occupied Crimea, is a key land route into the peninsula and provides troops, weapons and fuel to Moscow forces fighting in southern Ukraine.
Saturday’s closure is the second in a week after the bridge was hit by two drones on Monday, killing two civilians and collapsing part of the roadway structure. A track was reopened and the railway line remained in operation.
The bridge was also the target of an attack during Ukraine’s counter-offensive last October.
According to a Portal report, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday at the Aspen Security Conference in the US that the Kerch Bridge is a military target. “This is the route that supplies ammunition to war, and it happens every day.” And it militarizes the Crimean peninsula,” Zelenskyy said.
“For us, this is understandably a hostile facility, built outside of international law and all applicable norms. So that’s understandably a goal for us. And a goal that brings war and not peace must be neutralized,” the Ukrainian leader said in comments transmitted through an interpreter.
So far, no one has come forward claiming responsibility for this week’s attacks.