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UK Defense Ministry: Russia protecting Crimean Bridge with 'extensive' measures

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk September 1, 2023 11:49 AM 2 min read
A general view of the Crimean Bridge which connects Russian-occupied Crimea and Russia's Krasnodar region on July 25, 2023. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Russia has employed "extensive protection measures" to guard against attacks on the Crimean Bridge, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its intelligence update on Sep. 1.

Russia heavily relies on the bridge to cross the Kerch Strait, which was illegally constructed after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 to connect the peninsula with mainland Russia.

Since the outbreak of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the bridge has become essential for Russian military logistics, specifically for its troops in southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts.  

The intelligence update described protection measures that include TDA-3 truck-mounted smoke generators, air defense systems, and underwater barriers formed out of purposefully sunk ships, confirmed by imagery as of Aug. 29.

Ukraine's military intelligence (HUR) reported earlier in August that Russia is resorting to sinking vessels in the Kerch Strait to protect the Crimean Bridge from drone attacks.

The U.K. Defense Ministry said several ships had been submerged at the southern part of the bridge, around 160 meters apart.

Ukraine attacked the bridge on July 17 with a new experimental maritime drone nicknamed "Sea Baby." Ukraine previously damaged the bridge in October 2022 and claimed responsibility in July 2023.

"Sea surface drones are a unique invention of the Security Service of Ukraine," Vasyl Maliuk, head of the SBU, told CNN on Aug. 15.

When asked on Aug. 24 if this was an effective form of protection against sea drones, Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov replied "let them sink."

He added that Ukraine was aware of the Russian military's "habit of sinking something somewhere and (thinking) this will somehow help."

Zelensky: Ukrainian-made weapon has proven 700 km range
A new Ukrainian-made long-range weapon successfully reached a target 700 kilometers away, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Aug. 31.

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