Ukrainian official said if Kiev had the chance, it would have struck the Crimean Bridge long ago and would still do so, if the possibility arises
Crimean Bridge. © AFP / Alexey NIKOLSKY
Russia has responded to recent threats by Ukraine’s armed forces about a potential strike on the Crimean Bridge, which connects the peninsula to the rest of the country.
“Such statements are nothing less than the announcement of a possible terrorist act. This is unacceptable. There are many signs here of deeds that are subject to legal verification and subsequent punishment,» Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
It comes comes after Alexey Danilov, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, stated on Wednesday that if Kiev had the chance, it would have struck the Crimean Bridge long ago, and that its armed forces would do it now if possible.
“If we had the opportunity to do this, we would have done it already. If there is an opportunity to do this, we will definitely do it,” said Danilov in an interview with Radio NV, when asked if Ukraine could strike the Crimean Bridge, since it is being used to send reinforcements.
Former Russian president and current head of the National Security Council Dmitriy Medvedev also replied to the threat by writing in his Telegram channel that “One of the hard-nosed Ukrainian chiefs spoke of the need to strike at the Crimean Bridge. I hope he understands what will be the retaliatory target.”
Construction of the Crimean Bridge, also known as the Kerch Strait Bridge began in 2016 and was completed two years later. The multibillion-dollar infrastructure project connects the Crimean peninsula with Krasnodar Krai in Russia’s southwest. At 19km, it is the longest bridge in Europe and allows the passage of cars and trains, and has been used by Russia to transport armored vehicles into the southern regions of Ukraine amid the ongoing military conflict between Moscow and Kiev.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.