Damage to the Kerch Strait Bridge will highly likely have a significant impact on Russia’s already strained ability to sustain its forces in southern Ukraine.
The UK Ministry of Defense said this in its latest intelligence update published on Twitter, Ukrinform reports.
Following an explosion that damaged the bridge on October 8, two of the four carriageways of the roadway have collapsed in several places over a length of approximately 250m. It is almost certain that some vehicle transits via the other two carriageways have resumed, but capacity will be seriously degraded, the ministry said.
“The extent of damage to the rail crossing is uncertain, but any serious disruption to its capacity will highly likely have a significant impact on Russia’s already strained ability to sustain its forces in southern Ukraine,” the report said.
The rail crossing was only opened to freight in June 2020, but the line has played a key role in moving heavy military vehicles to the southern front during the invasion.
“This incident will likely touch President Putin closely; it came hours after his 70th birthday, he personally sponsored and opened the bridge, and its construction contractor was his childhood friend, Arkady Rotenberg,” British intelligence said.
In recent months, Putin’s former bodyguard, now commander of the Russian National Guard, Viktor Zolatov, has provided public assurances about the security of the bridge.
On October 8, a fire broke out on the Kerch Strait Bridge connecting Russia and the temporarily occupied Ukrainian Crimea. A video posted on social media showed a train on the Kerch rail bridge ablaze, with the adjacent road bridge appearing to have sustained damage.
The Security Service of Ukraine is not commenting on its alleged involvement in the explosion and fire on the Crimean Bridge.