The road part of the Chonharsky bridge is inaccessible after a successful missile attack. According to the Russians, the Ukrainians were to use Storm Shadow missiles
On Sunday, Ukraine carried out a successful missile attack on the Chonharsky bridge. The crossing connects the occupied part of the Kherson Oblast with the Russian-occupied Crimea.
First, after 14:00 Polish time, there were recordings of clouds of smoke in the area of the bridge. At 15:00, the damage to the bridge was officially confirmed by the pro-Russian leader of Crimea - Sergei Aksyonov.
"One hit, some of the missiles were shot down by air defense. The car bridge was damaged, repair work has already begun. There are no casualties", the politician indicated in Telegram.
The Russian governor of the Kherson region, Volodymyr Saldo, published photos from the attack, which show damage to the crossing. "Kyiv's terrorists fired NATO's Storm Shadow missiles (...). The bridge was damaged", he noted.
He added that one of the shells was also supposed to hit the building of a village school. Representatives of the Russian authorities ensure that communication with Crimea is still working, via Chaplinka and Armiansk,.
How important the crossing is shown by the situation from over a month ago. On June 22, the Ukrainians also managed to damage the Chonharsky bridge. Then the Russians reacted quickly.
Наступного дня поряд із переправою поставили понтонний міст. Росіяни повідомляли, що після червневої атаки міст відремонтують протягом 20 днів.
Saldo also reported that Ukrainian shells also fell on the bridge in the Henichesk area, which connects the city with the Arabat Spit. The crossing is 25 kilometers away from the Chonhar Bridge in a straight line.
The Ukrainians were to fire 12 missiles at this area, 9 of which were shot down by the Russians. One civilian was injured near the bridge, Saldo pointed out. He added that a gas pipeline running nearby was also damaged. "More than 20 000 residents have been left without gas", reads his statement.
The politician also stressed that, according to preliminary information, the damage could be quickly eliminated.
The Russians illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and are now using it as a staging area in their invasion of Ukraine. There are Russian fortifications, military bases, logistics routes in Crimea.
Known as the "Gateway to Crimea," the bridge over the Chonhar Strait is one of the few bridges connecting Crimea to the mainland, Reuters noted. Taking control of the region stretching from the western shore of the Sea of Azov to the eastern shore of the Dnipro River was one of Moscow's key achievements in the war with Ukraine, as it meant that Crimea was no longer cut off from other Russian-controlled territories, the agency said. The interruption of connections with the peninsula would increase Ukraine's chances of regaining the occupied Crimea, as well as an advantage in future negotiations with Moscow, Reuters added.
The Kherson Oblast in southern Ukraine, bordering the peninsula, was occupied by the Russian army at the beginning of a full-scale invasion in 2022. In November last year, as part of a counter-offensive, the right-bank part of the region, together with the capital, Kherson, was liberated by Ukrainian forces.