Russo-Ukrainian War 8/18/22

Explosions were reported in Kerch for the first time, though no damage to the Kerch Strait bridge has been confirmed.

The bridge’s destruction, a high-value target for Ukrainian forces, would isolate Crimea from Russia, trapping Russian forces inside and opening up a military liberation of the peninsula. Though it is still somewhat early for an attack on the bridge, given that Ukraine will likely need to re-assert some control over shores bordering the sea of Azov, Ukraine’s recent alleged strikes in Crimea have once again put on the table a potential attack on the bridge.

The United States and other Western allies have at times been ambiguous as to whether Crimea and the bridge would be valid targets using Western weaponry – at times, officials had claimed both did not constitute an attack on Russian territory, while others reiterated assurances that no Western weapons would hit Russia directly when pressed on Crimea. The recent attacks in Crimea have drawn credence to the possibility that Ukraine has weapons capable of hitting the peninsula – though a significant number of attacks are likely done by local partisans and special forces operating deep in occupied territory. Though no Western weapons pledged to or in Ukrainian hands can strike Crimea, Ukrainian forces are allegedly being trained to operate behind the frontlines, dismantling Russia’s logistics and command networks and stall their offensives while Ukraine’s conventional army modernizes.

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