A collapsing Russian symbol. This Saturday, October 8, an explosion went off on the Crimean Bridge, a strategic crossroads for Russian troops and weapons. The building was built to celebrate the annexation of the peninsula in 2014. Its damage is the symbol of a series of Russian disappointments since the start of the Ukrainian counter-offensive in September. On the front, kyiv seems to retain the initiative: despite some Russian victories, the Ukrainian army is said to have taken over nearly 800 km2 and 29 localities “just this week”, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, and more than 2,500 km2 in total.
- The Crimean Bridge partly destroyed
A car bomb started a large fire on the Crimean Bridge, key infrastructure and symbol of the annexation of the eponymous Ukrainian peninsula, the Russian National Anti-Terrorism Committee announced on Saturday. Two road lanes would be damaged, but the arch of the bridge was not affected. The head of the Crimean assembly, the regional parliament installed by Russia, Vladimir Konstantinov denounced a coup “Ukrainian vandals”. If Ukraine is the cause of the fire and explosion on the Crimean bridge, it would be a snub for Russia that such crucial infrastructure and so far from the front could be damaged by Ukrainian forces.
This bridge, built at great expense on the orders of Vladimir Putin in 2018, symbol of the annexation of Crimea in 2014, is essential for the transport of military equipment for the Russian army fighting in Ukraine, as well as troops. Traffic there has now stopped. Russia has opened a “criminal investigation in connection with the incident on the Crimean bridge”.
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Several explosions have taken place in recent months at Russian military installations on the peninsula, probably the result of Ukrainian military operations, such as when the Djankoi military base was devastated in August by the explosion of an ammunition depot, causing an exodus of tourists from the region.
- Cutting-edge American weapons will dry up
The US military will soon no longer be able to provide Ukraine with the advanced equipment it has given it so far, as its reserves are reaching their limits, particularly in terms of ammunition, according to US officials and experts. The United States is by far the largest arms donor to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24, with more than $16.8 billion in military assistance to kyiv. The American army has supplied 880,000 155 caliber shells to kyiv, i.e. three-quarters of the NATO-standard ammunition delivered to Ukraine by all Western countries,
But US stocks of some equipment “reach minimum levels necessary for planning and training”, and replenishing stocks to pre-invasion levels could take “several years”, according to Mark Cancian of the Center for strategic and international studies. (CSIS). Older equipment is available and “they will represent an increasingly important part of the transfers” in the future, added in a recent note this former colonel of the Marine Corps who was responsible for the Pentagon’s arms purchases from 2008 to 2015. In parallel, the EU announced the creation of a fund of 100 million euros for the direct purchase of arms.
- Zaporizhia under the bombs
At least 14 people died Thursday during bombings in the city of Zaporizhia (South), which had been hit in the early morning by seven missiles, we learned from an official Ukrainian source. “Sad news continues to reach us thanks to the analysis of the debris on the buildings affected by the attack. At this time, the death toll has already risen to fourteen”, indicated Friday evening on Telegram Anatoly Kourtev, the secretary of the City Council.
Seven missiles hit Zaporizhia, three of which hit the city center. A building overlooking the main artery of this industrial city had been almost completely blown up. Out of five floors, only the ground floor was still standing. The rest was just rubble.
Zaporizhia “undergoes massive rocket attacks every day,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced on Friday. It’s a “conscious crime”, he thundered on Telegram messaging. Zaporizhia, controlled by the Ukrainians, is located in the region of the same name, which Moscow has claimed for annexation, although it does not have full control of it.
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