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Ukrainian general threatens to destroy £2.7billion ‘umbilical cord’ bridge linking Russia to Crimea

A top Ukrainian general this week threatened to destroy a massive bridge connecting Russia to the occupied Crimean peninsula using Western long-range weapons.

Major General Dmytro Marchenko said on Wednesday evening that Kiev views the 745-meter-high Kerch Bridge as a legitimate military target in his country’s ongoing war against Vladimir Putin’s invading forces.

Speaking with the Krym.Realii website, the general — who has led Ukraine’s defense of the Mykolaiv region to the south — described the £2.7 billion bridge as an “umbilical cord” supplying Russian reinforcements to the south.

When asked what the Ukrainian military plans to do with new advanced weapons that Kiev is urging the West to supply, he told the publication that the bridge “would be our main target.”

“We have to tear this umbilical cord to cut off (Russian) reinforcements. Once it’s done, (Moscow) will panic,” he said.

Ukrainian Major General Dmytro Marchenko said on Wednesday evening that Kiev viewed the 745-meter-high Kerch Bridge (pictured, file photo) as a legitimate military target in his country's ongoing war against Vladimir Putin's invading forces.

Ukrainian Major General Dmytro Marchenko said on Wednesday evening that Kiev viewed the 745-meter-high Kerch Bridge (pictured, file photo) as a legitimate military target in his country’s ongoing war against Vladimir Putin’s invading forces.

Ukraine has urged its allies to rush more and better weapons to the country, saying it cannot hold off Russia’s stronger forces without more support. Western weapons have so far been crucial to the surprising success of the fought country.

However, Western countries are hesitant to send long-range weapons that could be used to attack deeper into Russian territory, fearing that this could drag more countries into an even bigger contract.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Construction of the bridge was completed in 2018 and Russia is using the bridge crossing the Kerch Strait to deliver troops and military equipment to the Black Sea region.

When the invasion began eight years later on February 24, 2022, it was used as a launch pad for Russia to attack Ukraine.

Following Marchenko’s comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that the bridge was well protected by Russia’s “preventative measures” and was safe for passengers to cross.

In response to his comments, Ukrainian military intelligence released what appeared to be full blueprints detailing the bridge’s plans over 242 pages.

The bridge connects Russia to the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014

The bridge connects Russia to the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014

Pictured: A screenshot of a page from the blueprints released Thursday by Ukraine's special forces, showing the bridge.  The release came after the Kremlin claimed the bridge had been defended

Pictured: A screenshot of a page from the blueprints released Thursday by Ukraine’s special forces, showing the bridge. The release came after the Kremlin claimed the bridge had been defended

Marchenko said he believes such weapons would help Ukraine win the war by the end of the summer, and that arriving earlier would prevent Russian troops from further entrenching and clinging to the territory they have hitherto. have conquered.

“Maybe my information isn’t enough to predict this,” he said. ‘But it is a fact that this will not be over soon. But again, they will give us all the weapons we need, the counteroffensive will probably end by the end of the summer.

He went on to say that he never imagined his soldiers would defeat so many Russian enemies, and that a point of no return had been reached on the issue of achieving peace with Russia.

We have already passed the point of no return. It was at the very beginning, when it was possible to stop all this, at the stage of negotiations, but after what they did, we reached the point of no return,” he said.

“And I’ll tell those who want peace and tranquility there, one way or the other, it won’t be.”

On Friday, the Ukrainian navy claimed it hit a Russian boat with air defense systems to a strategic island in the Black Sea.

General Marchenko - who led the Ukrainian defense of Ukraine's Mykolaiv region - described the £2.7 billion bridge as an 'umbilical cord' supplying Russian reinforcements

General Marchenko – who led the Ukrainian defense of Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region – described the £2.7 billion bridge as an ‘umbilical cord’ supplying Russian reinforcements

The navy said the Vasily Bekh was used to transport ammunition, weapons and personnel to Snake Island, which is vital for protecting shipping routes from Odessa’s main port. It did not say how much damage the strike caused.

Snake Island, 20 miles off the coast, featured memorably early in the war when Ukrainian border guards stationed there defied Russian orders to surrender, using colorful language that later became a rallying cry.

The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, which was used in the capture of Snake Island, was sunk by Ukraine in April – a major coup d’état for the failed Ukrainian forces, which used US technology and intelligence to help to attack ship.

The Ukrainian navy said on Friday that after the sinking of the flagship Moskva, the Russians began installing an anti-aircraft missile system called TOR on the decks of their ships. It said that was not enough to prevent Ukraine’s naval forces from “demilitarizing the Russian occupiers.”

There was no immediate response from the Russian authorities to the Ukrainian claim.

Russia continued its offensive in the eastern Donbas region on Friday, leaving desperate residents struggling to understand what the future holds for them.

‘We are old people, we have no place to go. Where should I go?’ asked Vira Miedientseva, one of the elderly residents struggling with the aftermath of an attack on Thursday in Lysychansk, which is just across the river from Severodonetsk, a major focus of recent weeks that the Russians have nearly conquered.

Ukrainian soldiers drive BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle, amid the Russian attack on Ukraine, in Ukraine's Donetsk region, June 14, 2022

Ukrainian soldiers drive BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle, amid the Russian attack on Ukraine, in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, June 14, 2022

Smoke and dirt rise from the city of Severodonetsk during clashes between Ukrainian and Russian forces in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region on June 14, 2022

Smoke and dirt rise from the city of Severodonetsk during clashes between Ukrainian and Russian forces in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region on June 14, 2022

After a series of setbacks early in the war, including the failure to take Ukraine’s capital, Russian forces have shifted their focus to the Donbas and launched a devastating offensive.

In recent weeks, they have moved into Severodonetsk and surrounding villages – the last part of the Luhansk region yet to be claimed by Russia or its allies.

“The Russians are throwing fire on the city,” said Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai. “It is getting more and more difficult for us to fight in Severodonetsk, as the Russians outnumber us in artillery and manpower, and it is very difficult for us to withstand this barrage of fire.”

The constant shelling made it impossible for 568 people, including 38 children, who are sheltering in the city’s Azot chemical plant to escape, he said.

Russian forces have destroyed all three bridges leading out of the city, but Mr Haidai said it was still not completely closed.

The Moscow envoy to Russian-backed separatists who control much of the Severodonetsk area said an evacuation from the Azot factory could take place under certain conditions.

Rodion Miroshnik of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic wrote on social media on Friday that Russian troops and separatists are “ready to consider options for opening a humanitarian corridor for the exit of civilians, but under strict adherence to the ceasefire.”

Earlier this week, Mr Miroshnik accused Kyiv forces of trying to disrupt the evacuation of civilians from Azot, a claim denied by Ukrainian officials.

Kiev has also pushed for increased political support, including quick access to European Union membership.

During a visit to Ukraine on Thursday, four European Union leaders vowed to support Kiev’s candidacy to eventually join the bloc. The European Commission will meet on Friday to make its official recommendation.

The war has increased pressure on EU governments to take swifter action on Ukraine’s candidate status, and Thursday’s pledge to support candidate status for Ukraine and neighboring Moldova pushes the 27-nation union closer to this goal.

But the process is expected to take years, and EU members remain divided on how quickly and completely they should open their arms to new members.

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