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Tensions Rise as Russia Thwarts Attack on Crimean Bridge

By Vusala Abbasova August 13, 2023

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The Crimean bridge serves as a critical passageway supporting Russia’s military operations in Ukraine. It facilitates the movement of people and goods into the regions that Moscow has taken control of in the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine. / Getty Images

Russia has once again thwarted an attempt to target an unmanned aerial vehicle at a bridge connecting Russia with the Crimean peninsula, an area under Russian control since 2014.

On Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry accused Ukraine of launching an attack on the Crimean bridge using the S-200 missile system. The ministry reported that the missile had been detected and intercepted by the Russian air defense system.

“On August 12, at around 1:00 p.m. Moscow time, the Kyiv regime attempted to launch a terrorist strike on the Crimean bridge with the S-200 surface-to-air guided weapon converted into a strike version,” the ministry wrote on Telegram. “The Ukrainian missile was promptly detected and intercepted in the air by Russia’s air defense system.”

No injuries have been reported, as confirmed by the ministry.

Later the same day, Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the attack and disclosed that Russian forces had also successfully thwarted an assault by 20 Ukrainian drones. The ministry stated that air defense systems had destroyed 14 drones, while electronic warfare had suppressed six.

In a statement released after the attempted strike, Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, accused Ukraine of attacks and vowed retaliation.

“The Crimean bridge is an object of purely civilian infrastructure, attacks on which are unacceptable. It has been subjected to such attacks since the autumn of last year, which also led to the death of civilians,” Zakharova said.

“Such barbaric actions cannot be justified and will not go unanswered,” she added.

The Crimean bridge serves as a critical passageway supporting Russia’s military operations in Ukraine. It facilitates the movement of people and goods into the regions that Moscow has taken control of in the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine.

Constructed by Russia following its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, the Crimean Bridge is viewed as a vital supply route for Russian forces engaged in Ukraine. Also known as the Kerch Bridge, it is situated on the northern coast of the Black Sea.

The Crimea region became a point of contention between Kyiv and Moscow in 2014, following Russia’s annexation of the peninsula. A Moscow-backed referendum held in March of that year purportedly indicated that over 90 percent of Crimea’s residents favored Russian control. Nonetheless, the vote was deemed illegitimate by Ukraine, Western nations, and the United Nations.