Russia vows retaliation after Ukraine launches attack on key Crimea bridge

Russia has vowed to seek revenge after claiming to have shot down Ukrainian missiles aimed at the key bridge connecting them to the annexed Crimea. Videos on social media appeared to show smoke rising near the Kerch Bridge, which is a vital supply route for Russian forces. The Kremlin accused Ukraine of terrorism and also claimed to have thwarted an attack by 20 drones targeting Crimea overnight. Russian foreign spokeswoman Maria Zkharova stated that there can be no justification for such actions and they will not go unanswered. The bridge, which is a significant symbol for Russia, was not damaged during the attack, and traffic was only briefly halted.

An adviser to the appointed governor of the annexed region, Sergei Aksyonov, suggested that the smoke was intentionally created to mask the bridge from incoming drones. He stated that two missiles targeted the bridge, and a third rocket was shot down over the Kerch Strait. Russia identified the missiles used as Cold War era S-200s, originally designed to destroy enemy aircraft and later adapted for ground-attacks. Kiev has not confirmed the attack, but their military has previously launched two other attacks targeting the bridge, resulting in two deaths last month.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has declared the bridge a legitimate military target as it continues to supply Russian forces with crucial amenities and ammunition. He believes that a target that brings war, not peace, should be neutralized. The Russia-installed leader of the occupied Donetsk region claimed that a civilian was killed by cluster munitions used by Ukrainian forces. However, no evidence was provided to support these claims.

Cluster bombs are banned by over 100 countries and caused controversy after the US agreed to provide them to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military reported a “partial success” near Robotyne in the southern Zaporizhzhia region. They stated that their forces had dug in at the point of their advance and were conducting defensive attacks. Registration has also begun for ships to use the temporary Black Sea “humanitarian corridor” to free ships currently stuck in ports. Ukrainian Navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk assured that everything would take place under the supervision of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to ensure security.

Following a day of heavy attacks from Russia, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine confirmed that children were among the dead and wounded. Shelling of a residential building in Kharkiv resulted in the death of a 73-year-old woman, and a police officer died in the Zaporizhzia region. In Kyiv, crowds gathered in Independence Square to honor the life of military medic Dariya Filipova, who was killed during a battle with Russian troops. Mourners carried red roses and photographs during the farewell ceremony, attended by relatives, comrades, and fellow servicemen.

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