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Russians sinking ferries to “drone proof” Kerch bridge

Written by Nick Blenkey
Kerch bridge ferry

Prior to opening of the Kerch Bridge multiple ferries served the Kerch Strait crossing. [Photo: Crimean Seaports]

Days after CNN aired footage showing a Ukrainian sea drone strike on the Kerch bridge, comes news that the Russians are trying to sink ferries in an attempt to “drone proof” the bridge that links illegally-occupied Crimea with the mainland of Russia.

According to the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, the Russians have already sunk one ferry and are now conducting preparatory work to sink a second.

The Directorate of Intelligence says the Russians plan to sink at least six ferries in order to create a protective lane in front of the Kerch Bridge and intend to install barrier barriers between the sunken ferries.

In a statement on its website, the Directorate of Intelligence says:

“Periodic successful attacks by the Security and Defense Forces of Ukraine on this legitimate military target resulted in serious damage to the bridge’s structure, including its road and rail tracks.

“The recent strikes on the Kerch bridge once again worsened the situation for the enemy’s grouping of troops in the south of Ukraine and provoked a hysterical reaction from the military and political leadership of Moscow.

“The Kremlin demanded anything to secure the facility, which is critically important for the military logistics of the Russian army of occupation.”

It adds that the flooding of the ferries, “testifies to the feverishness of the enemy’s decisions and the intellectual crisis” within the Russian military-political leadership.”

It’s not known what size ferries the Russians are sinking. Prior to Russia’s seizure of Crimea and subsequent construction of the bridge, a ferry service had been in operation across the Kerch Strait since 1954, using some quite large vessels — including rail and vehicle ferries. The ferry is now operated by Crimean Seaports, an element of the Russian-imposed administration. Following an October 22, 2022 explosion that caused serious disruption on the bridge at least one ferry, a truck and passenger ferry called Kerch 2 was pressed back into operation. From its website, it would appear to have a number of ferries available for “reefing.” Whether the Russians are now sinking ferries sizable enough to be useful in the event of another bridge outage is an interesting question.

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