Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

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Four missiles were fired at the Chonhar road bridge Thursday morning, with one hitting the structure, a representative of Russia’s Investigative Committee said in comments reported by Russian state news agency RIA.

“According to preliminary data, four incomings of unidentified missiles were recorded. During the inspection of the scene elements of these missiles were seized, one of which has a marking on its nameplate indicating that this missile was made in France,” RIA cited the unnamed representative as saying.

The representative said that one of the four missiles hit the road bridge.

Earlier, the Moscow-installed head of the occupied Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, said the bridge could have been hit by “Storm Shadow” missiles. The Storm Shadow is a long-range cruise missile with stealth capabilities, jointly developed by the UK and France.

Later Thursday, Saldo sought to “reassure” residents after the bridge was reportedly hit, saying in a video posted on Telegram that “I just want to reassure our citizens [that] nothing stops. Someone may try to raise the prices of food products [but] it will all be regulated.”

“There are other crossings. It will be harder, of course, to drive, [taking] a little longer in time,” he added.

A vital link: The Chonhar (“Chongar” in Russian) bridge connects the Russian-held parts of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region with the Crimean peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

There are two land crossings out of Crimea, Andriy Zagorodnyuk, a former Ukrainian defense minister, told CNN on Thursday: Chonhar bridge and the crossing at Perekop.

“The Chonhar bridge is critical for [Russia] moving troops, ammunition and equipment to and from Crimea, from the Zaporizhzhia direction,” he said.

“Crimea is a key logistics hub for Russian operational support [to troops] in the south [of Ukraine]. If the bridge is lost, damaged or under Ukrainian fire, it becomes a logistics choking point for all Russia’s southern military operations.”

Traffic between Crimea and occupied Kherson has been “temporarily rerouted” to two crossing points west of Chonhar – Armyansk and Perekop – Crimea’s transport minister, Nikolai Lukashenko, said on Telegram.

The “full restoration” of the bridge will take “no more than a few weeks,” Lukashenko said on Crimean-24 television channel Thursday.

What Ukraine is saying: Asked about the strike on the Chonhar bridge, Andrii Yusov, a representative of Ukraine’s defense intelligence, told state television: “The work is ongoing and will continue – the work of the security and defense forces, resistance movement, the local population, who are waiting for the return of the Ukrainian legitimate authorities to these territories.”


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