Ukraine Blows Up Crimea Bridge Again

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NPR (“Explosions disrupt traffic on a key bridge from Crimea to Russia’s mainland“):

At least two people reportedly died and another was injured early on Monday after what Russian authorities said was a Ukrainian attack on a key bridge linking the Russian mainland to the annexed peninsula of Crimea.

Russian media reported two explosions hit what is called the Kerch Bridge that connects southern Russia to annexed Crimea. Russian officials called the incident a “terrorist attack” that was staged by Ukrainian special forces involving two sea drones. There was no claim of responsibility from the Ukrainian side, but a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military’s Southern Command said the explosions could be a staged provocation by Russia to undermine a grain export deal that expires Monday.

Witness video online did appear to show a section of road partially collapsed, although a parallel railway track appears undamaged. Local authorities have also identified the victims; they say a teenage girl was left orphaned after her parents’ car was apparently hit from the impact of whatever caused the damage.

Russia has made it clear where they think the responsibility lies: Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has accused Ukraine of carrying out a terrorist attack with help, she said, from U.S. and British intelligence

It was the second significant strike on the bridge since last October, when a truck bomb damaged two sections of the bridge. The bridge is a key supply line for Russian forces operating in southern Ukraine. It’s also an important symbol of Moscow’s control of Crimea, the territory Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin personally drove the first vehicle over the bridge when it opened in 2018 to much fanfare.

For all those reasons Ukraine has said the bridge is a legitimate military target. blamed on Kyiv.

The Ukrainian government has subsequently claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was a joint effort by its Security Service (SBU) and naval forces. It’s certainly a legitimate military target and not an act of terrorism. That two noncombatants were killed is tragic but, given that the attack was “around 3am local time,” it was clearly timed to minimize that possibility.

In response, Russia says it will not renew a humanitarian grain deal.

Russia has suspended its participation in the Black Sea grain export deal, the Kremlin said on Monday.

The deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July, aimed to alleviate a global food crisis by allowing Ukrainian grain blocked by the Russia-Ukraine conflict to be exported safely.

It had been extended several times, but was due to expire on Monday. Russia had been saying for months that conditions for its extension had not been fulfilled.

“In fact, the Black Sea agreements ceased to be valid today,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“Unfortunately, the part of these Black Sea agreements concerning Russia has not been implemented so far, so its effect is terminated.”

This is an act of weakness, not strength, but Russia is already committing massive war crimes in Ukraine; its options for escalation are limited.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. gVOR10 says:

    It’s certainly a legitimate military target

    No question. It’s the primary supply line for Russia’s southern forces in Ukraine.

  2. Scott says:

    Is the issue with the grain is that Russia is still blocking Ukraine’s ports? Seems to me that once outside the 12 mile limit that NATO could enforce the freedom of the international shipping lanes.

    This is an area I know nothing about and the Black Sea and Bosporus have to have a lot of conventions and treaties about them.

  3. gVOR10 says:


    This is an area I know nothing about and the Black Sea and Bosporus have to have a lot of conventions and treaties about them.

    Indeed. Which is preventing the Russians from reinforcing the Black Sea fleet from the Northern, Baltic, or Pacific fleets. They can’t replace the sunk Moskva. Or at least they can’t as long as Erdogan feels like it.

  4. JohnSF says:

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning:

    “China hopes that the Black Sea Grain Initiative will continue to be balanced and fully implemented,”

    Which, from Beijing is a fairly sharp messages to Moscow; the last thing China wants now is a global food inflation spiral.

    And if Turkiye decides to convoy the grain ships, Russia gets to choose between looking stupid, and a shooting match with a NATO member capable of re-uniting what’s left of the Black Sea Fleet with the Moskva

  5. Kathy says:

    Going by Kremlin pronouncements, one would think the war will be won with Russian chutzpah, rather than through feats of arms and strategy.

  6. JKB says:

    I’m suspicious of how the media is glossing over the bridge attack. The rail bridge was already out of action from the earlier strike. And the capacity of the vehicle road was down to the point that to move supply convoys the Russians had to close the bridge to other traffic. This may be why there was the 3 am travelers. So, has that been degraded further or is this just damage that will delay the slow-going repairs?

    There is a bridge out in the eastern marsh area of the land bridge to Crimea that the Russians seem to be struggling to repair. So that leaves them a road to the western side of that land bridge for supplying Crimea. This is far and close to frontlines for the Russians.

    I wonder if the Ukrainians have worked out how to break out along the front and this is a preliminary to pin down the Russian Crimean forces? We shall see soon, I suppose.

  7. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    So, has that been degraded further or is this just damage that will delay the slow-going repairs?

    Based on what you’re saying, I’m not sure that the type of damage is significant. On the other hand, I’m not the expert at military strategery that you are.

  8. JohnSF says:

    The rail line has been working; as of latest date it still is.
    There are images of the damaged section taken from a passing train in daylight; so several hours after the strike.
    What is less clear is if the railway has be running on restricted weights. And if this strike has done any damage on the rail side.
    The problem is likely less supplying Crimea, than the southern front.
    A lots of supply to there seems to have been running via Kerch due the bottlenecked southern road and rail links you mention.
    The northern road and rail corridor is already within range of Ukrainian artillery at several points.
    Russians at the western end of the southern “corridor” are not in an ideal situation, to put it mildly.

  9. Daryl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    On the other hand, I’m not the expert at military strategery that you are.

    This in addition to being an epidemiologist specializing in Covid-19, a leading authority on classified documents and their storage, and an expert in the engineering of Titanic-visiting submersibles.
    Or maybe just the poster-child for Dunning-Kruger Effect?

  10. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl: But no one knows more about Ludwig von Mises.

  11. Daryl says:

    Soon to regale us with his/her knowledge of The Constitution, Insurrection, US Criminal Code: Title 18, and how none of it applies to DJT because he is running for office.

  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Daryl: @Gustopher: He certainly know a bunch more stuff than I do–though, that’s not a high bar to jump.