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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Ukraine Targets Two Bridges Linked to Russian-Controlled Crimea

In an effort to disrupt the Kremlin’s crucial supply channels and expand the war’s reach into new territory, Ukrainian troops on Sunday attacked two bridges linking Russian-occupied Crimea to the rest of Ukraine.

According to Vladimir Saldo, governor of the Russian-backed Kherson district, one of the attacks tore three holes in the highway of the Chonhar Bridge, connecting Crimea to the Russian-occupied territory. Russian-backed authorities claim that the same bridge was attacked by Ukrainian soldiers in June.

Mr. Saldo said a motorist was hurt and another bridge east of Chonhar in the little town of Henichesk was blocked to traffic after assaults on Sunday. More than 20,000 customers lost gas service when a pipeline was destroyed near the bridge, he said.

Mr. Saldo said that the Chonhar Bridge’s load-bearing structure was unharmed and that the Henichesk Bridge will reopen to traffic before the day’s end. His statements on the amount of the damage were not able to be confirmed by other sources.

Ukraine’s military forces claimed responsibility for both attacks on Sunday, an unusual move given that President Volodymyr Zelensky and other senior authorities have been stressing the need for regular Russians to confront the war being waged by the Kremlin.

According to a short message put on the Telegram messaging app by the city’s mayor, Sergei S. Sobyanin, the bridge assaults occurred on the same day that Russian air defences shot down an enemy drone that was nearing Moscow. Ukrainian authorities did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and the report has not been independently confirmed. Also, the Moscow area’s Vnukovo airport has temporarily halted flights for “security reasons,” according a Telegram message from the Russian government news outlet Tass.

Russia has adopted new measures to increase the severity of their strikes on various parts of Ukraine. Odesa, a key city in pre-war grain exports from Ukraine, was mostly spared from Russian attacks for a whole year. However, ever since Moscow scrapped a wartime pact three weeks ago that had enabled Ukraine to keep shipping its grain and other supplies across the Black Sea, Russian troops have repeatedly bombed the port, wreaking havoc on the infrastructure and destroying grain reserves.

The objective has been to prevent Ukraine from shipping goods alone via Russian-controlled waterways.

Ukraine’s Danube River ports have also been hit by Russian missiles in recent days. Though smaller than Odesa’s, the ports are an essential back-up plan for shipping millions of tonnes of grain overseas. Again, it seemed like an attempt to impede the shipping of commodities vital to Ukraine’s economy and international trade.

Ukraine’s air force said on Telegram on Sunday that the country’s air defences had intercepted 30 cruise missiles and 27 drones during the previous night.

Deputy director of the regional military administration Serhiy Tyurin said that Russia conducted an aircraft strike on the central Ukrainian city of Khmelnytskyi, damaging structures but leaving no victims. West of the Dnieper River, this area had previously avoided major damage.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said that Russian forces had employed precision weaponry to attack Ukrainian military air bases in the cities of Starokostiantyniv (western Khmelnytskyi area) and Dubno (northwestern Rivne region). Independent confirmation of the assertions was first prohibitively time-consuming.

More than 9,000 Ukrainian civilians have been murdered in the conflict, according to figures from the United Nations, yet efforts to cease the violence have not produced substantial results despite this.

This is due in part to the fact that both armies are vying for geographic advantage. Mr. Zelensky has also offered a peace formula, including conditions the Kremlin categorically opposes such as a Russian cease of hostilities and Moscow’s exit from all of Ukrainian land, including Crimea.

However, as part of a diplomatic push, delegates from Ukraine and over 40 other nations convened in Saudi Arabia over the weekend to try to develop international support for a peace deal.

According to a European Union official, China, which has portrayed itself as impartial, was receptive to the notion of conducting more conversations. The interim U.S. deputy secretary of state for political affairs, Victoria Nuland, reportedly spoke with the head of the Chinese delegation during the negotiations, as reported by Biden administration officials speaking anonymously to protect the reputations of Saudi and Ukrainian delegates.

On Sunday, Ukrainian Air Force Day, Mr. Zelensky lauded the efforts of troops using cutting-edge air defence systems provided by international partners to fend off Russian missiles and drones in the country’s evening address.

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