Ukraine should target the bridge connecting Crimea to the Russian mainland via the Kerch Strait as soon as it gets the required weapons from the West, Major General Dmitry Marchenko said on Wednesday in an interview with US state-run media.
“The Kerch Bridge is absolutely our number one target,” Marchenko told Crimea Realities (Krym.Realii), speaking of the longest such construction in Europe, opened in 2018. The website is a project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, part of the government-controlled US Agency for Global Media.
“As the main way of sending in reserves, we just have to cut it off. As soon as that road is cut off, they will start to panic. And believe me, those who flew Russian flags in Simferopol will quickly get Ukrainian flags and start flying them instead,” he said.
Marchenko’s comments were part of an interview posted on Wednesday, in which he heralded a Ukrainian “counter-offensive”that he said would see Kiev victorious by the end of summer – provided enough weapons and ammunition arrive from the US and its NATO allies.
Earlier in the day, US President Joe Biden announced $1 billion worth of military assistance, including anti-ship missiles, long-range rockets and more artillery. While Washington is sending only four HIMARS rocket launchers – which have not reached Ukraine yet – other NATO allies have pledged compatible equipment. The Pentagon’s policy chief on Tuesday revealed that the US will provide guided missiles with a range of 70 kilometers.
Ukraine gave Washington “assurances that they will not use these systems against targets on Russian territory,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier this month. However, the US refuses to recognize Crimea as Russian territory, calling the peninsula that in March 2014 overwhelmingly voted to rejoin Russia “illegally annexed.”