‘The same ones were used on Sevastopol three months ago’ What a source close to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry told Meduza about the latest Crimea bridge attack
The July 17 Crimea bridge explosion was a joint operation between the Ukrainian Security Service and the Ukrainian Navy, according to a source close to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate who spoke to Meduza on condition of anonymity. This was previously reported by the Ukrainian outlets Ukrainska Pravda and RBC Ukraine.
According to Meduza’s source, the attack involved “the same type of water surface drones as the ones used on Sevastopol about three months ago.” He said that Russia’s troops in the region don’t have the equipment necessary to detect drones from a long distance and that as a result, they didn’t detect the ones used in this attack until it was too late.
“The observers who were on duty overnight tried to hit the drones with large-caliber firearms and machine guns but were unable to,” he said.
The source also said that one of the bridge’s pillars was damaged. The Russian authorities have not confirmed this; the Russian Transport Ministry reported earlier that the roadway was damaged but noted that previous media reports about damaged pillars had not been verified. The claim has also not been confirmed by independent sources.
Meduza’s source noted that while a damaged span can be “replaced by a new one,” damage to a pillar would be a more serious issue. “But the main thing is that […] if you trace the maritime border along the territory between Russia and Ukraine, then the [damaged] pillar, the 145th one, is located behind this border, on the [internationally recognized] territory of Ukraine,” he said.
The latest explosion to rock the Crimean bridge occurred early on the morning of July 17. The Russian authorities reported that the blast killed a married couple from the Belgorod region who were driving over the structure. Their daughter reportedly sustained a serious head injury and was sent to an ICU in Krasnodar. The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case for terrorism.
Vehicle traffic over the bridge was suspended after the explosion. The Russian authorities have advised citizens planning trips from Russia to Crimea to go through the Russian-annexed territories in mainland Ukraine and have temporarily lifted curfews in those territories to facilitate travel.
Earlier on Monday, a Ukrainian military intelligence spokesperson called the Crimean Bridge a “superfluous structure.” A Ukrainian Security Service representative said the agency will provide more details about the explosion “after [Ukraine’s] victory.”