The Kremlin claimed to have shot down two Ukrainian missiles targeting Russia’s Kerch bridge to Crimea – as video shows smoke billowing from the crucial link to the annexed peninsula.
The 12-mile-long Kerch Bridge is of great importance to Moscow, both logistically and psychologically, as a key artery for military and civilian supplies and as an assertion of Kremlin control. on the peninsula he illegally annexed in 2014.
Last week, a Ukrainian maritime drone rammed a Russian oil tanker near the bridge, while an attack on the bridge last month killed a couple and seriously injured their daughter, leaving a stretch of road hanging dangerously.
The damage appeared less severe than that caused by an assault in October, but it again highlighted the vulnerability of the £3billion bridge. It is understood the traffic was halted, but Russian officials said there were no casualties.
As videos circulated on Russian social media appearing to show smoke rising over the bridge on Saturday, Moscow-appointed Crimean Governor Sergei Aksyonov reported that Russian air defenses also shot down two Ukrainian missiles.
“The Ukrainian missile was timely detected and intercepted in flight by Russian air defense systems. No damage or casualties were reported,” the ministry said in a statement.
An adviser to Mr. Aksyonov, Oleg Kryuchkov, said that “a smokescreen had been erected by special services”.
Smoke rises over Russia’s Kerch Bridge to Crimea – as Kremlin claims to have shot down two Ukrainian missiles targeting crucial link to annexed peninsula
The Kerch Bridge connecting Crimea with Russia is of great importance for Moscow
The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that Ukraine tried to destroy the bridge using S-200 anti-aircraft rockets.
The alleged attack is believed to be the first time the Vital Bridge has been targeted during daylight hours.
Last month, dramatic footage showed the moment huge explosions ripped through the crossing, with large flashes and thunderous blasts seen and heard in nearby towns.
A section of the crossing was destroyed in the double strike, with footage showing twisted metal barriers, debris and a damaged car in a blow to Moscow’s war effort.
Russian officials accused Ukraine of carrying out the attack with British and American participation – without providing any evidence.
Furious Putin propagandists then predictably replicated the Kremlin line and called on Moscow to carry out a retaliatory strike on London’s Tower Bridge, describing the landmark as a “legitimate target”.
The latest alleged attack on the Kerch Bridge came just hours after Moscow claimed to have shot down 20 drones targeting Crimea in the early hours of Saturday.
Fourteen drones were shot down by Russian air defenses and six others were electronically jammed, the ministry said in a Telegram post. No casualties or damage were reported.
Kyiv officials have neither confirmed nor denied Ukrainian involvement in the attacks.
The attempted drone and missile attacks follow three consecutive days of drone attacks on the Russian capital, Moscow.
The alleged attack is believed to be the first time the Vital Bridge (pictured) has been targeted during daylight hours
Last month, dramatic footage showed the moment huge explosions tore through the 12-mile level crossing
Pictured: The £3billion Crimean Bridge damaged following a drone attack last month
Firing drones on Russia, after more than 17 months of war, has little apparent military value for Ukraine, but the strategy has served to destabilize Russians and make them realize the consequences of the conflict.
Drone attacks have increased in recent weeks on both Moscow and Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 – a move most of the world regards as illegal.
Kyiv officials have neither confirmed nor denied Ukraine’s possible involvement in the attempted attacks.
Elsewhere, Russia claimed to have regained control of the village of Urozhaine in Ukraine’s easternmost Lugansk region in a nighttime counterattack.
A 73-year-old woman was killed early Saturday morning in the Russian bombardment of the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine, according to regional governor Oleh Syniehubov.
Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said a policeman was killed and 12 people injured when a guided Russian aerial bomb hit the town of Orikhiv in the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine.
Four of the injured were also police officers, he said.
Meanwhile, local officials reported explosions on Saturday morning in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, the birthplace of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but that there were no known casualties.
On Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, the city of Odessa has opened several beaches for the first time since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.
Odessa Governor Oleh Kiper said six beaches were open, but stressed that access to beaches during air raid warnings was prohibited.
The strategic port and key grain export hub has come under repeated missile and drone attacks – especially since Moscow canceled a landmark grain deal last month amid strenuous efforts by Kiev to reclaim its occupied territories – while Russian mines regularly washed up on the city’s beaches. .