Long-range missiles reportedly of British/French origin struck and damaged a key automobile bridge to the Crimea Peninsula, on Thursday June 22, in the latest Ukrainian attack against vital Russian military logistics routes.

Local residents reported three explosions at around 5 a.m. on the E105 highway near the town of Chonhar. This is a stretch of causeway, over an 100 meter-wide inlet from the Sea of Azov, an area that is salt marsh saturated with water even in dry seasons.

Russian official and independent social media images from the scene showed that one weapon strike had directly hit the main highway blowing a two-meter-wide hole completely through it, exposing reinforcing rods and smashed abutments. No injuries were reported.

Russia’s Izvestia television channel reported a second weapon had only scored a partial hit on the main causeway with the projectile’s main force causing a five-meter-wide crater in the mud and silt next to the structure.

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A third explosion according to some reports struck an older, secondary causeway that parallels the E105. Images of both the main and secondary roads showed the roadway sagging where the weapons had hit. Security camera video from the strike showed only two explosions.

Precision-guided weapon hits on other bridges during the Ukraine war have almost certainly compromised their structural integrity, to some extent. Morning statements by occupation authorities in Crimea said engineers were en-route to evaluate the damage.

Russian Missile Attack on Chernihiv Leaves 13 Dead, Over 60 Injured
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Russian Missile Attack on Chernihiv Leaves 13 Dead, Over 60 Injured

An 8-story civilian multi-purpose building was directly hit during the Russian missile strikes, according to the acting mayor of Chernihiv.

Volodymyr Saldo, a senior Russian-appointed official in the Kherson region, recorded a video of his morning visit to the strike site. He acknowledged damage and said the weapons were “British”, a claim that other major Russian information platforms echoed the view that British Storm Shadow missiles were used.

The pro-Russia Readovka Telegram channel and other platforms published images of weapon debris with a serial number plate purportedly showing at least one of the weapons had been manufactured in France. The French version of the missile is designated by the abbreviation SCALP-EG (Système de croisier conventionale autonome à longue portée - Emploi General). Paris has provided Ukraine with weapons since Russia’s Feb. 2022 invasion, but, has never publicly announced it was sending Ukraine SCALP-EG, its version of the Storm Shadow.

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A high-tech cruise missile and the first medium-range strike weapon sent to Ukraine by its allies, the ground-hugging Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG missile has a strike range of around 300 km. The closest probable launch sites for a long-range strike weapon currently available to Ukraine is about 150 km. from Chonhar.

Aside from Storm Shadow, Ukraine operates kamikaze drones for long-range strikes with payloads usually too light to damage a road bridge. Ukraine also has a few legacy-era surface to surface missiles such as the Hrim and Tochka-U, which, while having powerful warheads comparable to Storm Shadow, use guidance systems that are reportedly too inaccurate to hit a precise target such as a road causeway.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a morning statement warned that use by Ukraine of long-range, precision-guided munitions from the US or UK against targets inside Russia, in which he included occupied Crimea,would constitute a direct foreign attack on Russia, and retaliation against “decision-making centers” would follow.

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The Kremlin threat has been repeated frequently during Russia’s now 16-month-old war against Ukraine, but, actual effective Russian long-range strikes against senior Ukrainian officials and institutions are difficult, due to probably because one of the world’s most dense and capable air defense networks is deployed in and around the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

Saldo said the Ukrainian attack was pointless because of alternate routes in and out of the Crimean Peninsula. He also said that Russia would retaliate by hitting road and rail links between Ukraine and Moldova. The pro-Russian “Zaporozhskiy Front” information platform tried to put the best face on the damage, saying “We know how to fix bridges fast”.

Russian auto chat groups on Thursday showed all traffic blocked approaching the Chonhar causeway in both directions. Posters on KPP Chonhar Chat, a Telegram group that mostly provides motorists information on road conditions to and from Crimea, said queues were also growing but still generally moving along the only alternate road, the H05 highway crossing the Perekop isthmus at its 10 km-wide narrows, near the industrial town of Armiansk.

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The Russian internet was quick to lampoon Saldo’s claim that Crimean transport would be unaffected, some pointing out that less than six months ago he, in the name of Russian occupation forces, repeatedly declared the key Anotonovsky bridge linking the then Russia-occupied city Kherson with the left bank of the Dnipro River was well-defended and practically invulnerable to Ukrainian missile strikes.

Precision-guided missiles fired by US-manufactured HIMARS launchers put paid to Saldo’s declaration in a ten-day bombardment that, by late October 2022, left the Antonovsky bridge wrecked and unable to support vehicles heavier than a motorcycle.

The local Chonhar Kvadrat Telegram channel dredged up Saldo’s Oct. 2022 declaration “Russian air defense units have already learned how to intercept HIMARS missiles more effectively, and the chance of a successful strike is a lot less”.

By late November, faced with the loss of its main supply route to its forces on the right bank of the Dnipro, Russian forces had abandoned Kherson and thousands of kilometers of surrounding territory, in the Kremlin’s most humiliating retreat of the war since the Battle of Kyiv in March 2022. In his Thursday remarks from Chonhar, Saldo made no mention of the Kherson debacle.  

Aside from the Chonhar causeway, the only other road access in or out of Crimea is the M05 highway, which crosses the 10 km. wide Perekop Isthmus between the cities Armiansk and Perekopsk.

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Ukrainian strikes on Crimea’s transportation infrastructure have, according to reports, avoided the Perekop Isthmus and focused on the rail hub at Dzhankoi, Crimea’s main rail hub; and the military base at Henichesk, where Russia’s southern command headquarters and heavy air defense units are thought to be located. Heavy Ukrainian strikes, reportedly also by Storm Shadows, hit Russian units in Henichesk on June 2 and June 9.

According to some reports, strikes into the Perekop Isthmus and particularly Armiansk would carry the risk of a
major toxic chemical accident. The Ukrainian military does not publicize its long-range targeting planning.

In peacetime Chonhar, straddling the eastern highway to Crimea, was well-known to tourists as one of the two possible access points to drive into Crimea, at the time a popular seaside holiday destination.  During the high season a rite-of-passage to summer holiday included payment of a steep “Crimea guest fee” at Chonhar’s toll booths.

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Comments (4)

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Anton Stoeckl
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I do NOT understand why nobody has asked for and Germany has not offered their advanced military technology to Ukraine?
The system is called TAURUS, it is manufactured in Schrobenhausen / Bavaria. It is a missal with a distance reach of 500 KM which must be fired from a air plane and has a concrete penetration of 5 meter. There is nothing what this missal could not completely destroy at the first shot, including the Kerch Bridge. It would be a game changer. Glory to Ukraine!

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I support
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It doesn't matter which political party did what.Russia doesn't want to American never has. The history of Russia wanting to erase Ukrainian identity is what matters hundreds,of years of this.No one could have stopped this war because Putin seems to think like all tyrants that he is right no matter the cost of life. So arguing only suits his purpose. A weakened west is in his favor. So let's work together to defeat his scum bag. I just want to add I'm not American so I don't have your world view. I also thank you for everything you have given. It just breaks my heart to see a nation like yours so divided.

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I support
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Thank you UK

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Alan Sutton
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Well we all know by now that if Saldo says something then generally the opposite is true. I wouldn't ask him for any racing tips.

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