Missile Intercepted Over Occupied Crimea; Russia Temporarily Closes Vital Bridge

by Lucas Garcia
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Missile Interception in Crimea

On Sunday, authorities appointed by Russia in the Crimean peninsula reported that they had successfully intercepted a cruise missile near the city of Kerch, which consequently led to a temporary suspension of traffic on the Kerch bridge, the key artery that connects the occupied region to Russia.

The governor of Crimea, appointed by Moscow, Sergei Aksyonov, mentioned that the missile’s interception by the Russian air defenses didn’t cause any damage or casualties. He refrained from providing further details, including the type and origin of the missile.

A similar incident was reported on the same day in the neighboring Russian region of Rostov, where authorities claimed to have downed another missile. Governor Vasily Golubev attributed the missile to Ukraine, stating that the debris had caused damage to the roofs of several buildings, although no casualties were reported.

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Throughout the 500-day war in Ukraine, attacks reaching far beyond the frontline into Russian border regions or the occupied Crimean peninsula have become commonplace.

The Russian officials and authorities appointed in Crimea, annexed illegally in 2014, have repeatedly reported various incidents like explosions, drone strikes, and even cross-border raids supposedly conducted by Ukrainian infiltrators. However, Kyiv has never publicly accepted responsibility for these incidents.

The Crimean bridge, a significant transport and supply route for Russian forces in Crimea, had been out of operation for several weeks. For the first time, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar seemed to acknowledge Kyiv’s involvement, citing the attack as one of the country’s primary accomplishments in the ongoing war in a Saturday Telegram post.

Maliar wrote, “It’s been 273 days since we executed the first strike on the Crimean bridge to disrupt the logistics for the Russians.”

Maliar also listed other successes, including the sinking of the Moskva cruiser, an event that Russian authorities did not attribute to a Ukrainian attack.

The Deputy Defense Minister’s post on Sunday drew the attention of Russian state media and officials. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova once again labeled President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government as a “terrorist regime” in an online statement condemning the attack.

In other updates:

— A defense commander of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, who returned to Ukraine on Saturday, announced his intention to rejoin the battlefield. The expansive steelworks was the final stronghold of resistance when Russian forces seized control of the port city early in the war. Over 2,000 defenders were captured by Russian forces in mid-May 2022.

Five leaders, some of whom were part of the Azov national guard regiment, labeled as neo-Nazi by Russia, were released in a prisoner exchange in September and transported to Turkey, where they were supposed to stay under the protection of the Turkish president until the war’s end. However, Zelenskyy brought them back to Ukraine on Saturday without providing an official explanation of how this aligned with the exchange conditions.

Upon returning to Ukraine, one of the commanders, Denys Prokopenko, addressed reporters, stating his intention to return to the battlefield. “I am deeply convinced that the army is a team effort. And from today, we will continue the fight together with you. We will definitely have our say in battle,” Prokopenko was quoted as saying by Ukrainian media.

— On Sunday, the death toll from the Russian missile strike on Lyman, a city in the partially occupied Donetsk region, rose to nine. Lyman is situated a few kilometers from the frontline, where Russian troops have recently intensified fighting in the forests of Kreminna.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Missile Interception in Crimea

What incident was reported in Crimea on Sunday?

Russian-installed authorities reported shooting down a cruise missile near the city of Kerch in the Crimean peninsula. This led to a temporary halt in traffic on the Kerch bridge, which links the annexed territory to Russia.

Did the missile interception result in any casualties or damage?

According to the Moscow-appointed governor of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, the interception of the missile by Russian air defenses didn’t result in any damage or casualties.

Who is believed to be responsible for these missile attacks?

While the Russian officials didn’t provide specific details about the missile’s origin, they have frequently reported similar incidents which they attribute to Ukrainian infiltrators. However, Ukraine has never publicly accepted responsibility for these attacks.

What did Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar say about these attacks?

In a Telegram post, Hanna Maliar listed the attack on the Crimean bridge among the country’s main achievements in the war so far, seemingly acknowledging Kyiv’s involvement for the first time.

What was the impact of the Russian missile strike on Lyman?

The missile strike on Lyman, a city in the partially occupied Donetsk region, resulted in nine fatalities. This city is situated a few kilometers from the frontline, where Russian troops have recently intensified fighting.

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