Storm Shadow missiles have hit two important bridges connecting Crimea to occupied areas of Ukraine on Sunday, according to a Russian-installed official in Zaporizhzia.
According to the videos, the plume of smoke along with a fire on Chonhar and Henichesk bridge can be seen on the routes used by the Russian military to move from the annexed Crimean peninsula to Kherson.
Vladimir Rogov, of the military-civilian administration in the region, referring to the strikes said: “In total, three or four arrivals are reported. The extent of damage is still unknown.”
A picture published on Telegram claims to show one of the explosions. Sergey Aksyonov, Russian-installed leader of Moscow-controlled Crimea says Ukraine has attacked the bridge with missiles. He said on Telegram: “The enemy launched a missile strike in the area of the Chongar bridge in the north of Crimea.”
He added that while most of the missiles were shot down, one managed to reach its target. He continued: “There is damage to the roadbed of the automobile bridge, repair work is already beginning. There are no victims.”
In June, Ukraine reportedly struck the same bridge, which is one of a handful of links between Crimea and mainland Ukraine. It comes after a sea drone attack on a tanker near the Kerch bridge, which connects Crimea to Ukraine.
A former Russian lieutenant colonel has said the Russian army is heading towards defeat – and revealed the shocking extent of decay and corruption inside Vladimir Putin’s military. Sergey Gulyaev also praised General Valerie Zaluzhnyi, Ukraine’s military boss, for fighting “ten times more intelligently” than Putin’s men.
Ukraine is currently fighting on three fronts after launching a counter-offensive in June. Kyiv’s army is attempting to outflank Russian troops and mercenaries in Bakhmut, in the east. The Ukrainians have also been gradually advancing south from the town of Velyka Novosilka, where the Donetsk region meets Zaporizhzhia.
The slow progress of the counter-offensive has been criticised in the West. But Gulyaev said: “The huge numbers of casualties which are 10 times more than those sustained in Afghanistan tell you the Russian army is fighting like s***.
“Valerii Zaluzhnyi is acting 10 times more intelligently than Gerasimov (the Russian army boss). He is trying to save the lives of his men which is the most important thing.
“I applaud him for not sacrificing his troops in mad attacks and for acting gradually and correctly.” The former Lt-Colonel, who served two years in Afghanistan with the 58th automobile brigade, said Ukraine’s army could use more firepower.
He said they would need fighter jets like F16s and long distance artillery before it could make major advances through the heavily fortified Russian defensive lines. But he revealed the decay and crippling dysfunction within Putin’s army, that he believes will doom it to defeat after studying Russian military procurements in the year before the conflict.
He discovered a complete lack of investment in new equipment for an army ostensibly preparing for war. In 2021, only 421 pieces of new equipment were delivered to the entire Russian army across its three branches – the infantry, the airforce and the navy.
Since the invasion in February 2022, Russia has lost over 3,000 tanks and around 600 helicopters and fighter jets. When he was in the Soviet army for the 45th Guards motorised division, its entire tank inventory was renewed twice during the course of several years.
The lack of investment in the military is being felt on a daily basis by Russian troops on the frontlines. The former Lt-Colonel is in regular contact with friends fighting in Ukraine for Putin’s army. One senior officer who is a part of a reconnaissance unit told him he was given 10 armoured vehicles for his soldiers. Of these only five were road worthy, while the other five were not fit for purpose – meaning 50 per cent of his equipment could not be used.
The officer said that no maintenance or repair work had been carried out prior to his arrival, nor had they since received deliveries of spare parts or new equipment. Gulyaev blamed rampant corruption among Russia’s military bosses and political leaders for the army’s dysfunction and disarray.
He said: “Prigozhin, Gerasimov and Shoigu have been stealing money and screwing the military and of course Putin gets his cut.”
“The Russian army was in no fit condition to wage a war of this magnitude. Fortunately it is all to Ukraine’s advantage.” He insisted there was no way Putin’s army could regain the initiative in the war and win.
In Afghanistan, the Soviet army had around 110,000 troops fighting against small groups of partisans, he explained. The Soviets enjoyed the full support of the government and its security forces as well as the majority of local leaders and communities.
Yet despite these advantages, they could not prevail, losing some 15,000 soldiers during ten years of combat. He added: “In Ukraine, Russia is facing a motivated population, a professional army which is now in my opinion the strongest in Europe.”
“And then you have all the military support from Europe. The Russian army is also fighting on a front almost 1,000km (600 miles) long with around 300,000 troops.
“So when we take a 1,000km front and divide it by the number of soldiers – and not all of them are on the frontline, some are in the rear – you understand how many people per kilometre are actually defending the front.
“To attack you need a ratio of 3:1 in your favour. To storm a city it needs to be 10:1. The Russian army cannot muster these kinds of forces.”
- A Daily Express report