Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Kerch Bridge Attack: New Report Claims US Supplied UUVs Could Be Behind The Explosion & Not Truck Bomb

The Kerch Bridge, a vital infrastructure connecting the Russian mainland to the Crimean peninsula, was recently damaged in an explosion, which the Russian investigating agencies attributed to a truck bomb.

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A recent report, however, takes a different track and claims that the explosion on the strategic Crimean bridge may have been caused by a drone the US provided to the Ukrainian military.

The report was published by independent military experts from Molfar, a global open-source intelligence community. The report seriously challenged the Kremlin’s version of the bridge explosion and offered alternative explanations for the blast. 

On October 12, Russia’s domestic intelligence service said it had detained eight persons in connection with the incident. According to the FSB, the attack was carried out by Ukraine’s military intelligence and its head, Kyrylo Budanov.

Additionally, it stated that five Russian citizens had been detained, along with three Ukrainian and Armenian nationals. 

The explosive device allegedly used in the attack was carried across the bridge in a vehicle while being concealed inside rolls of construction-grade polyethylene plastic sheeting, according to the FSB. 

Although Kyiv has not claimed credit for the explosion, some senior Ukrainian officials applauded the bridge’s destruction. The Kerch bridge had been a vital supply route for Russian soldiers and a symbol of Putin’s claims to the territory he annexed in 2014.

Meanwhile, the latest report by experts highlighted gaps in the Kremlin’s version of events. In addition, it brought up several cases connected to the incident that offers an alternative perspective to what Russia is saying. 

One of the major arguments presented by the Molfar experts was that the vehicle explosion on the bridge should have left a hole in the road’s surface. However, it is evident from the footage made public after the incident that there was no hole.

The investigation also pointed out that the vehicle should have been examined before entering the bridge. The videos of the explosion seem to show more than one blast, including one that looks to be triggered from beneath the bridge. 

“Theoretically, the bridge could be blown up from below,” the Molfar report said. “After all, at the time of the detonation, there was a wave under the section that collapsed, while there was [none] under the others.” 

Kerch Bridge crimea HIMARS

The report also established a case for the possibility that the bridge may have been attacked using an AGM/RGM-84 “Harpoon,” which Denmark previously supplied to Ukraine. This suggestion, however, was turned down since a missile strike would have a more devastating impact.

Use Of American Drone? 

The investigation claimed an air or water drone could have triggered the explosion. The report noted that a whitish item that “moves with [the] water” can be seen between two pillars in the video taken from a camera mounted on the railway portion of the bridge. 

According to analysts, the camera was blinded for the first few seconds following the explosion, making it difficult to determine what actually hit the bridge.

“A water drone (UUV) for special operations was already found near the coast of Sevastopol. It was probably delivered to our Armed Forces from the USA in April,” the report said. An image of the drone was first shared on Russian social media in September. 

UUV-Drone
The uncrewed boat reportedly washed ashore in Crimea, close to Russia’s main naval base. RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENCE VIA TWITTER

The photograph depicts what looks to be a tiny, cutting-edge surface drone constructed from elements of commercial watercraft. The report also suggested that the Ukraine-made drones, which frequently operate in the Crimea region, may have been used in the attack.

“This version is confirmed by the fact that the roadbed was torn off from its fastenings, but the supporting pillars remained undamaged (because their stability is greater than the road),” Molfar’s report noted. 

Nevertheless, the Russian President quickly referred to the bridge explosion as “terrorism” and stated that the deadly aerial assault his military launched this week on Ukrainian cities was a kind of retaliation.

Image
Kerch Bridge. In frame 2, the top in the circle is said to be a boat’s bow

Following weeks of unparalleled criticism of his military leadership, the recent explosion increased calls from hard-liners for a severe response, increasing pressure on Putin.

On the other hand, the bridge explosion was referred to as “the beginning” by Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who made no mention of the perpetrators of the act.

Later, he issued a statement that implied that the blast might have been the work of Russians. He argued that the truck that exploded reached the bridge from the Russian side. So it is practical to look at Russia for the answers.

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