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Ukraine to destroy Crimean Bridge by mid-2024 — HUR sources

Crimean Bridge
Crimean Bridge

Ukraine intends to destroy Russia's illegal Crimean Bridge in Kerch in the first half of 2024, The Guardian reported on April 3, citing anonymous sources.

The Ukrainian military intelligence service, HUR, is reportedly gearing up for a third strike against the bridge, deeming its elimination a certainty. A senior HUR official expressed confidence in neutralizing the structure within the projected timeline.

"We will do it in the first half of 2024," said an unnamed high-ranking HUR official.

The HUR's head, Kyrylo Budanov, already has "most of the means to carry out this goal," the official said.

Read also: U.S. drones conducting reconnaissance 120 km from occupied Crimea, suggesting potential Ukrainian action

Budanov is following a plan approved by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to “minimize” Russia’s naval presence in the Black Sea, The Guardian said.

The bridge destruction would strengthen Ukraine’s campaign to liberate Crimea and raise morale on and off the battlefield.

The method of attack on the bridge remains unknown, as there are "serious doubts about whether the HUR is capable of pulling off a special operation against such a well-defended and obvious target," The Guardian said.

Russia has taken extensive measures to protect the bridge, strengthening anti-aircraft defenses and deploying a “target barge” as a decoy for incoming guided missiles.

SBU attacks on the Crimean Bridge:

Several sections of the road bridge collapsed because of a powerful explosion on Oct. 8, 2022, which also set fire to a train filled with fuel on the railway section of the bridge. The fire damaged both the track and the bridge structure, though the Russians were able to restore rail traffic.

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The Kremlin regime accused Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Chief, of organizing the sabotage on Oct. 12, 2022. The HUR has denied the Kremlin’s claims, describing them as “delusional.”

Read also: Russia nears completion of railroad to occupied southern Ukrainian territories – HUR

Russia claimed to have fully restored the damaged portion of the bridge on May 5, 2023.

Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister, Hanna Malyar, confirmed that the attack on the bridge was carried out by Ukrainian forces on July 8, 2023.

The SBU once again targeted the Crimean Bridge using Sea Baby drones on July 17, 2023. At that time, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister for Construction and Regional Development, Marat Khusnullin, reported significant damage to at least one span.

Read also: Ukrainian military reportedly causes massive fuel tank backlog on Crimean Bridge

Following these incidents, Russian occupiers further fortified the Crimean Bridge with "special anti-sabotage underwater barriers" supposedly designed to protect the structure from aerial and underwater drones.

The Russian-built bridge will be destroyed by the end of 2024, Ukrainian Navy Commander, Vice Admiral Oleksiy Neizhpapa, said on Feb. 5.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine