kyiv wants the bridge over the Kerch Strait to be destroyed and anticipates incidents of sabotage, says Mikhail Podolyak
The Crimean Bridge, the largest such structure in Europe, which connects the peninsula with mainland Russia, “should be destroyed” said an aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
“It is an illegal construction and the main gateway to supply the Russian army in Crimea”, Mikhail Podolyak told the Guardian on Tuesday, explaining why kyiv wants to attack him.
The bridge was built after Crimea split from Ukraine following an armed coup in Kyiv in 2014 and voted in a referendum to join Russia. It forms a direct road and rail link to the region, which previously was only accessible by sea or air from the mainland. The bridge is mainly used by civilian traffic.
Podolyak is the latest Ukrainian official to confirm kyiv’s intention to attack the structure. The remark came as he appeared to imply that Ukraine was carrying out a series of acts of sabotage in Crimea.
Since last week, two separate locations on the peninsula have been rocked by powerful explosions at military sites used to store munitions. The Russian Defense Ministry recognized the latest, which happened near the village of Mayskoye in northern Crimea on Tuesday, as an act of sabotage.
kyiv has not officially claimed responsibility for the incidents, but many Ukrainian officials have hinted that it is, with Podolyak following the pattern in his interview with the British newspaper.
“I certainly agree with the Russian Defense Ministry, which predicts more such incidents in the next two, three months. I think we could see more things happen,” he noted.
Ukraine’s presidential aide called the alleged covert attacks a “counteroffensive” different in nature from the type of military action generally described by this term.
“A Ukrainian counter-offensive is very different [from a Russian one]. We are not using the tactics of the 60s and 70s, of the last century,” he claimed. The Guardian suggested that Podolyak may have tacitly admitted to Ukraine’s failure to amass troops and weapons for a real pushback against Russian troops on the battlefield.
Senior Ukrainian officials have promised for weeks that a push to retake the city of Kherson will begin soon, with some even saying the operation is already underway.
Podolyak told the BBC last week that “all public statements” by Ukrainian officials were “psychological warfare” aimed at demoralizing the Russian army.