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Moscow tries to protect symbol of occupation of Crimea - UK intelligence

Moscow tries to protect symbol of occupation of Crimea - UK intelligence
Author: Maria Kholina

Russian authorities are making strenuous efforts to fortify the Crimean Bridge, which stands as a symbol of the occupation of Crimea and is crucial for troop movements in southern Ukraine, acording to the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom on Twitter.

The Kerch Strait is a bottleneck for military logistics support to Russian forces in occupied areas of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts. Russia is heavily reliant on the Crimean bridge and ferries to cross the Straits.

According to British intelligence sources, Russia is employing a range of passive defences such as smoke generators and underwater barriers, alongside active defence measures such as air defence systems, to strengthen the survivability of water crossings and minimise damage from future attacks.

"The bridge's importance for both logistics and symbolism of Russian occupation mandates these extensive protection measures," noted the British Ministry of Defense.

As of 29 August 2023, satellite imagery confirms Russia has created an underwater barrier of submerged ships and containment booms to deter against Uncrewed Surface Vehicle (USV) attacks against the Crimean Bridge. At the southern part of the bridge, this includes several vessels 160 metres apart. These are located at the same place as the Ukrainian "Sea Baby" USV attacks on 17 July 2023.

Previously, in September 2022, the Russian Navy briefly trialled radar decoys on barges for several days, likely to deter radar seeking missiles. Other countermeasures to protect the bridge include the use of TDA-3 truck-mounted smoke generators, with an exercise conducted on 24 May 2023. This smoke was activated to deter incoming air threats on 12 August 2023.