Attack on Crimean bridge targets Russian supplies and symbolism
An attack Monday damaged a busy bridge linking Russia to Crimea, suspending traffic and killing two people — the second time in a year the bridge has been targeted.
Why it matters: The Kerch bridge holds vital strategic and symbolic value for Russia, providing a key supply route for Russian troops in their ongoing assault on Ukraine.
The big picture: The bridge has for years epitomized the tension between Russia and Ukraine over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.
- The 12-mile bridge, inaugurated by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018, is the only direct link between Crimea and the Russian mainland, per The Guardian.
- Over the course of the war, the Kerch Bridge has been used to transport fuel, armor and vehicles to Russian troops, CNN reported.
State of play: Russian government officials have referred to the incident as a "terror attack" and blamed Ukraine.
- Russia's National Antiterrorism Committee said Monday that the attack was carried out by Ukrainian forces using two surface drones, Russian state news agency TASS reported.
- A couple from Russia's Belgorod region was killed and their teenage daughter was injured, Belgorod regional Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote in a Telegram post.
- Part of the bridge's roadway was damaged, suspending traffic, though rail service has resumed and a ferry is continuing to carry people from the peninsula to the Russian mainland, per TASS.
Worth noting: Ukrainian authorities have not formally claimed responsibility for the attack.
- "Any illegal structures used to deliver Russian instruments of mass murder are necessarily short-lived ... regardless of the reasons for the destruction," Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, tweeted Monday in an apparent reference to the attack.
- Hours after the attack took place, Russia announced that it was pulling out of the Black Sea grain deal.
Flashback: The Kerch bridge was heavily damaged by an explosion last October, after which Russia scrambled to reestablish supply lines to Crimea.