Logistics: Critical Kerch Strait Route Ruined


June 3, 2024: By 2o23 Ukraine had destroyed over a third of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and forced the remainder to move as far from Crimea as possible. This means anchorages in the Black Sea extension, the Sea of Azov that was more than a thousand kilometers from Crimea and reachable only via the narrow 15 kilometer-long Kerch Strait. This is also the site of the Kerch Strait bridge, which was meant to connect Crimea with the Russian mainland. The bridge has been under constant attack by the Ukrainians since Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022. Currently Ukraine is attacking the bridge with explosive armed USVs (Unmanned Surface Vessels). Similar USVs were used against the Black Sea Fleet. With Crimea stripped of its radars, anti-aircraft systems and warships normally based there, the area is now largely defenseless. Every Russian vehicle and electronic device in Crimea relies on imported fuel and the Crimea is now effectively blockaded by Ukrainian forces. No more fuel gets into Russian-occupied Crimea. When the last of it is used, Russian-occupied Crimea will be defenseless and Ukrainian forces can walk in and take over.

Since late 2023 the bridge has been weakened to the extent that only light vehicles, like passenger cars, can use the bridge. The railroad tracks are damaged in too many places to keep them in repair so the railroad across the bridge can be used on a regular basis.

The bridge was built in 2018, at a cost of more than $4 billion, to provide a direct route from the Russian mainland to the Crimean Peninsula. The constant Ukrainian attacks have weakened the bridge in so many places that Russia has given up trying to repair it and is instead using a longer 720 kilometer railroad from Rostov-on-Don to the port of Melitopol where an existing rail line continues to Crimea. This new, longer route is also under attack by Ukrainian missiles. The Kerch Bridge was wrecked by a combination of missile and seaborne attacks using USVs.




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