Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov reported on Dec. 12 that a bridge near the Russian-occupied city in the southeast Zaporizhzhia Oblast, used by the Moscow troops for transporting military equipment, exploded.
“This is one of the strategically important bridges, like the Crimean bridge,” he said, adding that the Russian forces were delivering equipment in the eastern direction through it. The Crimean bridge, a symbol of Russian occupation, had served as a crucial supply route for Moscow’s forces fighting in Ukraine’s occupied south.
Moscow has accused Ukrainian special forces of blowing up the bridge on Oct. 8. According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, the attack on the Crimean bridge has disrupted Russian logistics supplies for Crimea and southern Ukraine, “reducing Russia’s ability to move military equipment and troops into the area by rail or road.”
On Dec. 11, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that Russian forces in occupied Melitopol are forcing residents to get Russian passports to receive their payments. The Russian military is forcing locals to switch from Ukrainian currency to the Russian Ruble, the report said. At the same time, Russian forces are also reportedly trying to encourage residents to collaborate by raising assistance to pensioners and increasing salaries for those who agree to work in Russian-established institutions, the General Staff said.