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9 Oct. 2022 Andrew

The explosion of the Crimea bridge, the fuse of the escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict?

"As the only land passage connecting the Russian mainland and the Crimean Peninsula, how the violent explosion on the Crimea Bridge will affect the direction of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has aroused great concern. The Crimea Bridge has symbolic significance, so Russia may Choosing to carry out a high-intensity retaliatory operation against Ukraine, including airstrikes on Kyiv's command center and government core departments, could lead to a vicious cycle of retaliation and counter-retaliation on both sides."

The explosion of the Crimea bridge and signal jamming equipment

On the morning of October 8, local time, a violent explosion occurred on the Crimea Bridge connecting Russia and Crimea. According to the latest Russian media reports, the Russian Investigative Committee said preliminary statistics showed that three people were killed in the Crimea Bridge accident.

Bridge road traffic has resumed

After the bombing, a statement issued by the Russian Federal Investigative Committee on the same day revealed some details of the bombing.

From the surveillance video of the bridge released by Russia, it can be seen that a truck driving on the Crimea Bridge from the direction of the Taman Peninsula exploded, causing the seven fuel tank cars of the train above it to catch fire. The explosion caused two sections of the approach bridge of the highway section of the Crimea Bridge to rupture. The surveillance footage also showed that there were two cars and another truck driving in the same direction as the truck that exploded, and then a violent explosion occurred and the flames shot into the sky.

According to the "Guardian" report, the Crimea Bridge is highly symbolic to Russia and is also an important supply channel for Russian troops in Crimea and other parts of southern Ukraine controlled by Russia.

Crimean authorities said they were ready for ferry transport. At present, the Crimea region has sufficient material reserves. The Russian Energy Ministry said that Crimea has sufficient fuel supplies for vehicles to last for 15 days, and that work is underway to ensure the continued availability of local fuel.

The Russian military also responded to the impact of the bridge explosion on the Russian military. The Russian Defense Ministry said on the 8th that after the destruction of the Crimea bridge, Russian troops in Ukraine can still obtain all necessary supplies by land and sea.

According to the latest news, the leaders of the Crimea region said that traffic on the Crimea Bridge has resumed.

What did Ukraine do?

Regarding the cause of the bridge explosion, Russian officials have not released authoritative information, but Podoljak, adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, responded that the Crimea Bridge incident is only the beginning, all illegal things will be destroyed, and all Everything stolen will be returned to Ukraine, and the Russian occupation will be completely expelled.

After the Russian-Ukrainian conflict broke out, the Ukrainian army repeatedly announced plans to destroy the bridge. On June 15, Ukrainian Major General Dmitry Marchenko said in an interview with Ukrainian media that the Ukrainian army plans to destroy the Crimea Bridge, the longest bridge in Europe, calling the bridge the "number one target" of the Ukrainian army.

In August this year, there was an explosion over the Crimea Bridge. Russian media reported that Russian air defense forces shot down multiple Ukrainian drones near the Crimea Bridge.

In response to possible attacks, after the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the Russian army also made targeted deployments. According to the video taken by the personnel passing by the bridge, the Russian army deployed ships equipped with corner reflectors on the sea near the bridge, and vehicles that can release smoke screens have also been trained on the bridge many times. The corner reflector is designed to deal with the jamming equipment of active radar-guided munitions, and the smoke screen can be shielded and interfere with the optically-guided munitions.

In addition to signal jamming equipment, according to Russian media reports, a variety of air defense systems are deployed near the Crimea Bridge, patrol boats on the water surface, and even trained military dolphins underwater.

"From the perspective of choosing the Crimea Bridge as the target and the explosion point, this explosion was a well-planned action," Zhao Long, a researcher at the Center for Russian and Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Institute of International Studies, told The Paper. It is alleged that the Ukrainian security department did it, so its main purpose is to destroy the morale of the Russian army, to create chaos and panic in the rear of the Russian-controlled area, and to cooperate with the Ukrainian frontline counter-offensive. "

After the bridge explosion, Russian State Duma representative Oleg Morozov said the incident was a "declaration of war".

Morozov said such incidents would occur more frequently without an "adequate response".

Zhao Long believes that the biggest impact of the bridge explosion is to become a fuse for the escalation of the intensity of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. "At present, although the Russian government has not characterized this incident as a 'terrorist attack' launched by Ukraine, the elites in Russia have identified Ukraine as the manipulator and asked Russia to take retaliatory strikes against Ukraine," Zhao Long said.

For Medvedev's previous "Judgment Day" response remarks. Zhao Long believes that the use of weapons of mass destruction in response to the bombing is unlikely, especially the use of tactical nuclear weapons. "The function of nuclear weapons is mainly used to deter or intimidate NATO, prevent NATO from escalating the scale and level of military assistance to Ukraine, or personally participate in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine." Zhao Long said.

On October 4, White House spokesman Jean-Pierre said at a briefing that despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's nuclear threats, there was no sign that Russia was preparing to use nuclear weapons.