Recently, The Kerch Bridge, which links the Russian mainland to the Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea, came under attack.
GS II: International Relations
Dimensions of the Article:
- What happened to the Kerch Bridge?
- Importance of the Kerch Bridge
- Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Status
What happened to the Kerch Bridge?
- One section of the Kerch Bridge was blown up, resulting in two fatalities and a child being injured.
- The Kerch Bridge, spanning the Kerch Strait, is 19 km long with two parallel rail and roadways.
- It was opened in 2018 by Russian President Vladimir Putin, four years after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine through a disputed referendum.
- Last October, the bridge was targeted by a massive truck bomb that caused significant damage and claimed three lives.
Importance of the Kerch Bridge:
- Symbolic Significance: The bridge holds symbolic importance for Russia as it provides a direct land link between the Russian mainland and Crimea, which was previously disconnected.
- Logistical and Operational Role: The bridge serves as a critical logistical supply link for Russian troops in the south, connecting them to Crimea and facilitating movements between the two regions.
- Military Strategy: Securing a “land bridge” to Crimea has been a strategic objective for Russia, especially as the region was vulnerable to Ukrainian fire from the frontline.
- Security of Crimea: The bridge is essential for maintaining Russia’s hold on Crimea and ensuring its continued military presence in the region.
- Counteroffensive Disruptions: The recent attack on the bridge occurred during a Ukrainian counteroffensive, with the goal of disrupting Russian supplies to southern Ukraine and making deep thrusts into Russian-held territories in the southeast.
- Vulnerability of Crimea: Ukraine’s efforts to target the Kerch Bridge aim to make Crimea further vulnerable to future attacks and reduce its reliance on the bridge as the only link to mainland Russia.
Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Status:
- Ukraine launched a counteroffensive with the help of advanced weapons supplied by the West.
- President Zelenskyy has been actively campaigning for more advanced weaponry from Western allies to fight against Russian forces.
- The U.S. and European countries have provided Ukraine with various military equipment, including armoured vehicles, long-range rockets, cruise missiles, main battle tanks, missile defence systems, artillery shells, and ammunition.
- Training for Ukrainian troops is also being conducted in Europe and the U.S.
- The U.S. has provided 42 aid packages to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, with the latest package including cluster munitions, which have been banned by many countries due to their indiscriminate harm to civilians.
- The goal of supplying advanced weaponry was to help Ukraine make swift battlefield gains against Russia and put pressure on President Putin.
- After six weeks of fighting, Ukraine has not achieved any major breakthrough victories in the counteroffensive.
- Ukrainian forces have recaptured approximately 210 sq. km of territory, mostly in the southeast, but these were mainly abandoned villages along the frontline.
- Ukraine’s gains have come at a high cost, with around 20% of the weaponry sent to the battlefield being lost, including West-supplied main battle tanks and armoured vehicles, in the first two weeks of the counteroffensive.
- Despite the support of advanced weaponry from Western allies, Ukraine’s counteroffensive has not yet achieved significant territorial gains against Russian forces. The conflict continues to have a high toll on both sides, and the situation remains complex and fluid.
-Source: The Hindu