Russia’s response: destroying a train delivering weapons to Ukraine

PANAGYURISHTE ($1=2.01 Bulgarian Levs) — Russia considers the blowing up of a section of the bridge over Crimea an act of terrorism. These are the statements made in the last 24 hours by senior Russian administrators. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called those responsible for the explosion “Ukrainian vandals.” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described what happened as “an attack on the civilian infrastructure of a terrorist nature.”

Russia's response: destroying a train delivering weapons to Ukraine
Photo credit: AP, NTB

On Saturday morning [October 8th], an explosion on the Crimean bridge set fire to seven fuel tanks being transported by train to Crimea, according to Russian authorities. According to them, there are three dead. There are several possible assumptions about the explosion, but the most widely circulated are a truck explosion, a rocket, or a pre-set explosion under the bridge.

While Russia claims that a truck explosion caused the infrastructure damage on the bridge, Norwegian Lt. Col. Geir Hagen Karlsen disagrees. After carefully reviewing the photos of the incident, he believes that an explosion was planted under the bridge. “Most likely, there are explosives planted under the body of the bridge. It was blown up in several places,” he says.

Possible Russia’s response

How will Russia respond? This is the question that is most often asked after October 8th. There is no shortage of opinions here either, but most seem to focus on a reciprocal reaction from Moscow. Some experts are also asking another question that underlies future Russian actions: whether Russia now believes that “some kind of red line has been crossed.”

Russia's response: destroying a train delivering weapons to Ukraine
Photo credit: AP, NTB

Swedish experts think that Russia may respond similarly. One of the prevailing views is that infrastructure in Europe will be affected. Delivery of weapons outside the territory of Ukraine is also a highly possible option.

Malcolm Dixelius, a journalist specializing in issues with Russia, believes that arms delivery to Ukraine will be one of Moscow’s goals. “It’s not completely out of the question that they destroy a weapons train in another country,” he told a Norwegian newspaper.

Ilmari Kaikho, a researcher at the Swedish Defense University in Stockholm, told the news agency TT that “the nuclear weapons map currently exists and has been here all along.” However, Kaijo does not believe that this incident will be the reason for Russia to use its nuclear arsenal. “I don’t think anyone is starting a nuclear war over a bridge,” Kaikho said.

Military analyst Anders Puck Nielsen of the Danish Defense Academy believes the bridge was very important to the Russians’ war in southern Ukraine. “This bridge is absolutely necessary for the Russians to get supplies to the southern part of the front. If they can’t get supplies here, they will have a very difficult time when they have to fight in Ukraine,” Nielsen told the Ritzau news agency.

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