In a recent interview on Crimea Realities, Ukraine threatened to destroy Europe’s longest bridge, the Kerch Bridge, which opened in 2018.
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Major General Dmitry Marchenko said in an interview with US state-run media on Wednesday that Ukraine should target the bridge connecting Crimea to the Russian mainland via the Kerch Strait as soon as it receives the necessary weapons from the West.
Marchenko told Crimea Realities (Krym.Realii) that “the Kerch Bridge is absolutely our number one target,” referring to Europe’s longest bridge, which opened in 2018. The website is a project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which is part of the US Agency for Global Media, which is owned by the US government.
“As the main way of sending in reserves, we just have to cut it off. As soon as that road is cut off, they will start to panic. And believe me, those who flew Russian flags in Simferopol will quickly get Ukrainian flags and start flying them instead,” he said.
Marchenko made the remarks in an interview published on Wednesday, in which he predicted a Ukrainian “counter-offensive” that would see Kiev victorious by the end of the summer if enough guns and ammunition arrived from the US and NATO allies.
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Earlier in the day, US President Joe Biden unveiled a $1 billion military aid package that included anti-ship missiles, long-range rockets, and additional artillery. While the United States is only deploying four HIMARS rocket launchers, which have yet to arrive in Ukraine, other NATO partners have vowed to send equivalent equipment. The Pentagon’s strategy head said on Tuesday that the US will provide 70-kilometer-range guided missiles.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated earlier in the month that Ukraine had given Washington “assurances that they will not use these systems against targets on Russian territory.” The United States, on the other hand, refuses to acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory, declaring the peninsula, which overwhelmingly voted to rejoin Russia in March 2014, “illegally annexed.”
Marchenko did not specify which weaponry he intended to use against the bridge, which the Kiev government has threatened to bomb in the past. While the bridge was for several years the only way to get to Crimea from the Russian mainland, the entire Black Sea coast from Kherson to Mariupol is now under Russian and Donbass republics’ sovereignty.
Following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, which were first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s subsequent recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, Russia launched an attack on the neighboring country in late February. The protocols negotiated by Germany and France were intended to grant the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
Since then, the Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine declare itself a neutral country that will never join the NATO military alliance led by the United States. Kiev believes the Russian offensive was unprovoked and refutes suggestions that it planned to seize the two republics by force.