Ukrainian forces have once again struck what is probably the most vital bridge in the war.
In the early hours of Monday morning, Ukraine attacked the Kerch Bridge that connects Russia with the occupied Crimean Peninsula, causing significant damage.
This is the second attack on the key supply route since the war began.
Attack on Kerch Bridge
On Monday morning, the Russian-installed governor of Crimea announced that the Kerch Bridge had been declared under emergency, and that traffic in both directions of the road bridge had stopped.
Satellite imagery of the Kerch Bridge reveals significant damage on both sections of the road. The asphalt has detached in places, and there is likely structural damage on the pillars supporting the superstructure. The adjacent railway bridge seems to be intact, but there might be some structural damage as a result of the explosion.
It is still unclear what method the Ukrainians used to attack the bridge. The first time they hit Kerch, they used a truck full of explosives. But now Kyiv has long-range cruise missiles, including the Storm Shadow, that can reach the bridge.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who personally sponsored the construction of the bridge, has also asked that security measures around the Kerch Bridge increase.
It is worth noting that the Kerch Bridge is fully illuminated at night, making it easier to target whether the attack comes from the sky or sea.
The rail bridge was opened to freight trains three years ago. Since then, it has played a key role in bolstering the military capabilities of the Russian military on the Crimean Peninsula. More recently, since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, its military has relied on the Kerch Bridge to move men and weapons systems into Southern Ukraine.
As the Ukrainian counteroffensive moves closer to Crimea, attacks against the Kerch Bridge are expected to increase. The Ukrainians have shown that they have the capability to strike strategic targets with either special operations teams or drones.
The first attack against the Kerch Bridge back in October completely destroyed a good chunk of the road and damaged the railway. Two of the four lanes on the road then collapsed across a length of close to 300 yards.
Ukraine Is Trolling Russia
The Ukrainian military and intelligence services have a habit of trolling Russia — and even the West on occasion — as part of a broader psychological operations campaign.
As such, the Ukrainian military took advantage of the situation to conduct some good old trolling on the Russians.
“The number of potential «domestic» summer tourist destinations for Russians is falling. With alarming regularity,” the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense stated in a tweet on Monday.
Ever since the Russian military invaded and annexed Crimea, the peninsula has been a popular tourist destination for Russians. That is why the Ukrainian military is predicting that the attack on Kerch Bridge will somewhat frustrate the vacation plans of Russian civilians and officials alike.
A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.