Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky considered that the bridge connecting Crimea with Russia “brings war, not peace” and is therefore a military target.
Speaking via videoconference to the Aspen Security Conference in the United States on Friday, Zelensky said the land bridge and railway, which Russia built and entered service in 2018, “was not just a logistical route.”
“This is the way that is used to feed the war with ammunition, and it is done on a daily basis. It is arming Crimea,” he added, in remarks transmitted by a translator.
“For us, it is understood that this is an enemy facility built outside international laws and all applicable rules. Therefore, it is understood that this is a goal for us. The goal that brings war, not peace, must be neutralized,” he added.
In response to a question, Zelensky denied any connection between the attack and Russia’s withdrawal this week from a UN-backed agreement to export grain from Ukrainian ports.
He said Russia had obstructed the operation of the grain corridor from the start.
Explosions in Crimea Bridge
Zelensky said that the Ukrainian army’s long-awaited counter-offensive, which began last month, took some time to prepare because the Russian occupation forces had established several defense lines and laid mines on a large scale in Ukrainian territory.
“Ukraine is not backing down. It is gradually liberating its territory, which is very important,” he added.
Explosions on the Crimean Bridge on Monday killed two civilians and put part of the land bridge out of service, which had recently returned to full operation after being severely damaged in a similar attack in October.
Ukraine welcomed Monday’s attack, but officials did not directly claim responsibility, and Moscow blamed Ukraine. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and Kiev wants it back while it resists an all-out Russian invasion that began in February last year.