Russia claims key Crimea bridge is fully repaired, but actually it remains limited and a huge ‘security burden,’ UK intel says

A video grab taken from Crimea24TV footage on July 17, 2023, shows the damaged Kerch bridge — linking Crimea to Russia – which was damaged by a drone attack.

Crimea24TV/AFP via Getty Images

Russia said the Kerch Bridge was fully repaired after a Ukrainian attack in July.
But the bridge is “now almost certainly a significant security burden” for Russia, the UK MOD said.
It also isn’t back to full use, with trucks and fuel moved by ferry, the defense ministry added.

The bridge that links Crimea to Russia is still only partly in use — despite Russia’s claims it is fully repaired after an attack by Ukraine in July — and will be a “significant security burden” going forward, according to UK intelligence.

The UK Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update on Thursday that the Kerch Bridge is fully operational but is limited in its use under restrictions that were introduced after Ukraine’s first attack on the bridge in October 2022.

“Trucks and fuel supplies continue to be moved by ferry,” the UK MOD said.

That’s despite Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin declaring on October 14 that damage from a July 2023 attack was repaired ahead of schedule, the MOD said.

Russia uses the 12-mile-long bridge to bring supplies and equipment from Russia into Crimea, a peninsula in Southern Ukraine that was annexed by Russia in 2014.

A picture taken on July 17, 2023, shows a Russian warship sailing near the Kerch bridge, linking the Russian mainland to Crimea.

STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images

Russia has used Crimea to launch many of its attacks on Ukraine, including hitting cities and towns far from the front lines.

The bridge was damaged in explosions in July that Ukraine claimed responsibility for.

The attacks were seen as a symbolic blow to Russia, with the bridge representing Russian control over Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin called it a “miracle” when it was first opened in 2018.

Despite its operating limits, “the Crimean bridge will remain a vital link in sustaining Russia’s occupation of Crimea and its forces in southern Ukraine,” the MOD said.

But it is now “almost certainly a significant security burden requiring multi-domain protection, including the use of air defence systems and crews who would otherwise be deployed elsewhere,” it added.

The MOD said that: “Russian security forces confidence in their ability to protect this large and vulnerable structure will continue to be threatened by the ingenuity of Ukraine’s military and security services.”

Ukraine has repeatedly vowed to take back Crimea.

It stepped up its attacks on the peninsula in recent months, including using maritime attack drones against warships and cruise missiles against a Russian naval shipyard and the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

More recently, it sent special forces soldiers in on nighttime raids using jet skis and speedboats.

Soldiers involved in those raids said they were partly done to give hope to Ukrainians living in Crimea that Ukraine will take back the peninsula.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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