High columns of smoke over the Crimean bridge: Russia reports firing of “enemy missiles”

High columns of smoke over the Crimean bridge: Russia reports firing of

Russia says it shot down two Ukrainian missiles over the bridge to the annexed Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. Two “enemy missiles” were shot down by anti-aircraft defenses near the Kerch StraitMoscow-appointed Crimean governor Sergey Aksyonov said on Saturday in the online service Telegram.

An S-200 anti-aircraft missile was used for the attack. The Crimean bridge, which is strategically and symbolically important for Russia, was “not damaged”.

Governor Aksyonov called on the residents to calm down. On images distributed in online networks Columns of smoke could be seen rising near the bridge. Local residents reported explosion noises. According to one of Aksyonov’s advisers, Russian special forces artificially generated smoke to defend the bridge. Traffic over the connection was interrupted, but would be resumed “soon”.

Why is the Crimean Bridge so important strategically and symbolically?

Opened personally by President Vladimir Putin in 2014, the bridge consists of two parallel sections – one for road, another for rail. About the Crimean bridge will be used, among other things transported military equipment for the Russian army fighting in Ukraine.

The bridge over the Kerch Strait has been attacked several times by Ukraine in recent months. Ukraine, which has been defending itself against a Russian war of aggression for more than 17 months, wants to liberate occupied areas – including Crimea – in the course of counteroffensives.

The Ukrainian military has already damaged the Crimean bridge in attacks in the past and pointed out that the structure was erected illegally by Russia on occupied territory. There was initially no official reaction from Kiev to the latest attack.

Crimea itself is also a regular target of Ukrainian attacks. Only on Saturday morning did the Russian Ministry of Defense have the 20 drones reported shot down over Crimea.

In the past few days it was too increased number of drone attacks on Russian territory. The Ministry of Defense announced on Friday that it had shot down a drone heading for the capital Moscow. The Ukrainian drone was destroyed over a Moscow suburb, there were no casualties or damage. (AFP, dpa)

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