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6 Feb, 2024 15:17

Ukraine promises to destroy Europe’s longest bridge ‘this year’

The iconic Crimean Bridge is “potentially dead,” Kiev’s navy chief Aleksey Neizhpapa has insisted
Ukraine promises to destroy Europe’s longest bridge ‘this year’

The Crimean Bridge connecting the Russian peninsula of Crimea to the Krasnodar Region will be destroyed in 2024, the commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Vice Admiral Aleksey Neizhpapa, has claimed.

On Monday, Neizhpapa gave a lengthy interview to Aleksandr Gordon, a Ukrainian journalist who is wanted by Moscow on accusations of spreading false information about the Russian military, and of inciting terrorist activities.

During the conversation, Gordon wondered if it would be fair to describe the 19-kilometer-long bridge as “potentially dead.” The navy chief agreed with the characterization, insisting that he knew how to destroy this key piece of infrastructure.

When asked about when exactly the longest bridge in Europe will go down, Neizhpapa replied by saying: “I think we won’t have to wait long. At least this year, for sure.”

The Crimean Bridge was built between 2016 and 2018 and was the only traffic and railway link between the peninsula and mainland Russia.

However, Moscow opened a vast land bridge to Crimea after Kherson and Zaporozhye regions and the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk voted to officially join the Russian state in the fall of 2022.

Following the outbreak of conflict between Russia and Ukraine, multiple officials and commanders, including President Vladimir Zelensky, threatened to destroy the Crimean Bridge, claiming that it was vital for the Russian military. The structure had been targeted with missiles and naval drones on numerous occasions, but most of those attacks have been successfully repelled.

In October 2022, an explosives-laden truck blew up as it was traveling along the bridge, killing three people and causing damage that took months to repair. In July last year, a drone boat exploded under one of the segments of the structure, killing two civilians and orphaning a 14-year-old girl. 

Back then, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin described the attack as “brutal” and pointless from a military perspective, explaining that the bridge is no longer used to transport combat equipment and ammunition.

Last week, he said that the Ukrainian military has “turned into a terrorist organization” as various units have increasingly been targeting innocent civilians and social infrastructure.