Ukrainians shrivel up ‘Putin bridge’
A few hours after a major explosion damaged the strategic bridge connecting Russia with Crimeaa barrage of rockets crashed into a residential area of Zaporizhzhia and killed at least 17 people. Others are no doubt still trapped in the rubble.
This is a war crime. There are no military targets nearby. President Zelensky rightly called the Russian strike “absolute wickedness, absolutely diabolical” adding: “There have already been thousands and unfortunately there could be thousands more.”
The Russians continue the relentless targeting of the town of 800,000 inhabitants located 50 km from the nuclear power plant. At the end of September, a Russian strike on a convoy of vehicles fleeing the Zaporizhzhia region killed at least 30 people, mostly old people, women and children, and injured 88 others.
Ukraine accuses Russia of taking revenge against civilians as its armed forces suffer catastrophic setbacks on the battlefields.
Putin blames the Ukrainians
Putin accuses Ukrainian secret service of being behind the explosion claiming it is a « terrorist act » against a key infrastructure. It’s a personal affront to him. He ordered the construction of the bridge to ensure a direct link between Crimea and Russia and he presided over its opening in 2018.
Last April, the Kremlin did not blame Ukraine for the attack on the missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, saying it was an accidental explosion following a an accidental fire that had sunk it.
Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility for the explosion, but The New York Times reported that a senior Ukrainian official said Ukrainian intelligence services were involved in the operation.
Shortly after the bridge explosion, extremist Russian military bloggers and analysts were demanding a swift and brutal response from Moscow.
A war correspondent for the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda called on Russia to « send Ukraine back to the 18th century, without unnecessary thought about how this will affect the civilian population. »
The explosion will not permanently disrupt critical road communications from Russia to Crimea, but it will complicate Russian logistics until the bridge is repaired. Additional security checks on passing vehicles will delay the movement of military equipment and personnel into Crimea.
A corrupt and brutal general
The explosion of the bridge is a major setback for Moscow, both symbolic and military. And bodes ill for Moscow’s already troubled efforts to retain the Kherson region of southern Ukraine and Crimea itself.
Putin has appointed yet another new general to command his forces in Ukraine. General Sergei Surovikin has been in prison twice. The first for selling weapons and the other for leading a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters during the failed 1991 coup attempt in Moscow that killed three of them.