Russia's strategic road-and-rail bridge, a key route for military supplies, was seriously damaged after it was hit by a powerful explosion on Saturday, news outlets have reported.
The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in an analysis that "satellite imagery shows that the explosion collapsed one lane of the road bridge and damaged the nearby railway track."
It reported that some Russian military bloggers "speculated that Ukrainian saboteurs used a boat to detonate the bridge from the sea, though there is no visible evidence for such a conclusion."
The Kremlin refrained from accusing Ukraine of sabotage or attack, "echoing similar restraint following the sinking of the cruiser Moskva and the Ukrainian strike on Saky airfield in Crimea," the ISW said in its latest analysis of Russia's military campaign in Ukraine.
It noted that Ukraine did not claim responsibility for the incident, but The New York Times quoted an unnamed senior Ukrainian official as saying that Ukrainian intelligence participated in the explosion.
"The explosion will not permanently disrupt critical Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Crimea, but its aftermath is likely to increase friction in Russian logistics for some time," the ISW said.
It added that the road bridge appeared "at least partially operational, and the railroad bridge did not suffer significant structural damage."
Russian forces "will likely still be able to transport heavy military equipment via the railroad," according to the ISW.
Russian officials "will likely intensify security checks on all vehicles crossing the bridge, however, adding delays to the movement of Russian military equipment, personnel, and supplies to Crimea," it said.
President Vladimir Putin "has already signed a decree strengthening the security protocol on the bridge under the supervision of the Russian Federal Security Service," the ISW reported.
Sunday is day 228 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: PAP, understandingwar.org