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22 Jul, 2023 00:47

Zelensky threatens to ‘neutralize’ Europe's longest bridge

The Ukrainian leader called the Crimean Bridge a legitimate military target following an attack that killed two civilians
Zelensky threatens to ‘neutralize’ Europe's longest bridge

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has claimed the Crimean Bridge is not civilian infrastructure, but a key logistical route for Russia’s “militarizing” of the peninsula, insisting Kiev was within its rights to target it using any means necessary.

The bridge – the longest in Europe, which links the peninsula to mainland Russia over the Kerch Strait – was damaged in an explosion on Monday. The drone strike, which Moscow called a Ukrainian terrorist attack, killed a couple and seriously injured their 14-year-old daughter, who was traveling in the same car.

Neglecting to even mention civilian casualties, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria asked Zelensky at the Aspen Security Forum in Washington, DC on Friday whether destroying the bridge “completely” was Kiev’s “short-term objective.”

“For us this is understandably an enemy facility built outside the law, built outside international laws, and all applicable norms, so understandably this is our objective. And any target that is bringing war, not peace, has to be neutralized,” the Ukrainian leader stated.

Zelensky went on to state that Kiev’s objective was to “reclaim all of Crimea because it is our sovereign territory,” avoiding the host’s question as to whether such a grand goal could be reached through the ongoing counteroffensive, which has so far shown underwhelming results.

Government sources cited by Ukrainian media outlets confirmed the strike had been launched by Kiev. The SBU, the security service that allegedly co-organized the operation with the Ukrainian military, reacted by promising to release details about the incident after the conflict with Russia is over.

Crimea broke away from Ukraine shortly after the Western-backed 2014 Maidan coup, which deposed the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovich. Afterwards, the peninsula joined Russia, with its population overwhelmingly backing reunification in a referendum. Since then, seizing Crimea from Russia has become a top talking point for Ukrainian officials.

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