Ukraine has used British-supplied Storm Shadow missiles to hit a key bridge between Crimea and the Russian-held part of Ukraine’s Kherson region, pro-Moscow sources have claimed.
Russia-appointed Kherson governor Vladimir Saldo said the Storm Shadow was used for long-range cruise missile strikes, which damaged the Chonga Bridge road. No casualties were reported.
The strike comes just two days after the Kremlin warned that a Storm Shadow missile strike in Crimea would see the UK become a ‘full’ participant in the war in Ukraine, which Russia annexed in 2014.
Images show a large hole in the bridge, revealing water below, as well as debris across the road The damaged bridge is still standing but the extent of internal structural damage was not immediately clear.
Saldo promised: ‘There will be a very serious answer soon.’ The governor described the attack as ‘another senseless move directed from London by the Kiev government’.
Ukraine has used British-supplied Storm Shadow missiles to hit a key bridge between Crimea and the Russian-held part of Ukraine’s Kherson region, pro-Moscow sources have claimed. Photo: A hole in the bridge
Images show a large hole in the bridge, exposing the water below, as well as debris strewn across the road
The strike comes just two days after the Kremlin warned the UK would see the UK as a ‘full’ participant in the war in Ukraine if Russia annexed it in 2014, when a Strom Shadow missile struck Crimea.
‘It solves nothing for the results of special operations. Just to do damage,’ Saldo added.
Crimea’s governor, Sergei Aksyonov, said experts were examining the site to determine when traffic could resume over the bridge connecting Crimea with the Russian-controlled parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
Melitopol is the closest connecting crossing to Crimea and is a major supply route for Vladimir Putin’s forces to the disputed peninsula and vice versa.
A Russian report described the bridge attack as referring to ‘savage shelling of civilian objects’.
Vladimir Saldo, the acting Moscow-appointed supremo of the attacked Kherson region, said: ‘According to initial assessments, British Storm Shadow missiles were used. Road surfaces on bridges are damaged. There are no casualties.’
Communication between Crimea and Kherson region continues through a backup route, he said.
Komsomolskaya Pravda’s military correspondent Alexander Coates said: ‘The enemy has begun to separate Crimea from the Kherson region.
‘Storm Shadow Missile hits [have been made] At Chonga Bridge – one of the isthmuses connecting the peninsula to the mainland.’
He saw the attack as evidence that Britain was now directly involved in the conflict.
This should lead to an “immediate attack on decision-making centers on the territory of Ukraine,” he said.
It comes two days after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu warned the UK and US that they would be seen as ‘full’ participants in the Ukraine war if Storm Shadow and Himmers missiles were used to strike targets in Russia or Crimea.
Shoigu has warned that he will target the ‘decision-making centers’ in Ukraine – meaning he plans to direct his army to target Volodymyr Zelensky and his government leaders in Kiev.
The damaged bridge is still standing but the extent of internal structural damage was not immediately clear
Russia-appointed Kherson governor Vladimir Saldo said the Storm Shadow was used for long-range cruise missile strikes, which damaged the Chonga Bridge road (pictured). No casualties were reported
Analysts say the long-range Storm Shadow (pictured on display at the RAF Museum) has been a game changer for the Ukrainians as Kiev launches its counteroffensive. The Storm Shadow missile, accurate to a range of 150 miles, allows Ukrainian forces to strike deeper into Russian-held territory than previously possible.
Shoigu said on Tuesday: ‘According to our information, the leadership of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is planning to launch an attack on the territory of the Russian Federation, including Crimea, with HIMARS and Storm Shadow missiles.
‘Using these missiles outside the area of special military operations would mean full US and UK involvement in the conflict with immediate strikes on decision-making centers in Ukraine.’
His claim that Crimea is part of Russia is disputed by the West – and international law – which considers it Ukrainian.
Russia is baffled by the power and accuracy of the Storm Shadow, with a range of 155 miles, which is fired from Ukrainian Su-24 fighter jets.
“The Kiev government is employing a large number of Western weapons and elite forces whose personnel have been trained by NATO experts,” Shoigu told the Collegium of the Russian Defense Ministry earlier this week.
A graphic showing how the Storm Shadow missile performs on the battlefield
US-made HIMARS systems (pictured) also changed the game, allowing Ukraine to strike deeper into Russian-held territory and push back the frontlines.
So far Ukraine has used the long-range British-supplied Storm Shadow and US-supplied HIMARS to strike targets in Russian-held areas of mainland Ukraine, including Crimea.
At least one Russian general and a colonel were killed in a Ukrainian attack using UK Storm Shadow missiles.
Colonel Sergey Postovalov, 53, was fatally wounded on June 10 when he hit a Russian command post near Henichesk minutes after visiting Putin’s Deputy Premier Denis Manturov.
Putin reportedly visited the site in April.
Postovalov was a colonel in the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
His death follows the killing of Russian Army Major-General Sergei Goryachev, 52, in a strike earlier this month in the annexed Zaporizhia region – also seen as a Storm Shadow offensive by Ukrainian forces.
Last week, Yevgeny Balitsky, the Moscow-appointed head of Ukraine’s occupied Zaporizhia region, admitted the weapons were causing ‘problems’ and were more problematic than the US-supplied HIMARS system for the Kremlin’s military.
His words confirm the idea that the long-range storm shadow has been a game changer for Ukrainians as Kiev launches its counteroffensive.
‘They definitely give us trouble with their missiles, I must say, especially the Storm Shadow,’ Bolitsky said.
‘We somehow learned how to shoot [US-supplied] Himmers.
but [British-supplied] Shadows are harder. They come, and have a large radius. So it’s a problem for us.
‘Actually, we are having a hard time with air defence [Storm Shadow].
‘It shoots them down, but the missiles only have a 50 percent chance of being shot down.’
Colonel Sergey Postovalov, 53, (pictured) was fatally wounded on June 10 when he hit a Russian command post near Henichesk minutes after visiting Putin’s Deputy Premier Denis Manturov.
Shoigu’s threat came as Russia today admitted it had lost another colonel in a Storm Shadow strike near Crimea on the Arabat Spit (pictured).
He added: ‘Three of the four reached us recently.
‘Sometimes two do it. The missile is modern, although it is not new, but it is fast enough, it flies correctly. I mean, at different speeds, at different heights, changing modes, so it’s not easy to shoot.’
Britain announced the delivery of Anglo-French-designed Storm Shadows to Ukraine on May 11, answering Kiev’s long-standing demand for long-range missiles to help defend its territory against Putin’s invading army.
The shadow of the storm also hit the port cities of Bardyansk and Mariupol on the Sea of Azov, reports said. And the £2.2 million-per-unit missiles were used to target Luhansk in occupied Donbas.
The GPS-guided ground-hogging missile with a 450 kg warhead has a range of about 155 miles. The missiles allow Ukrainian forces to strike deeper into Russian-held territory than previously possible.
The Storm Shadow is a low-observability, long-range, air-launched cruise missile developed by Matra and British Aerospace since 1994 and now manufactured by MBDA.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace previously confirmed the missile had been used by Ukraine on May 18 – but declined to elaborate.
He said the missiles gave the Ukrainians the ability to hit Russian command and control centers that had been moved further back to the front line to keep them out of range of the rocket artillery systems supplied to Kiev in the west.
Ukraine is the only country to which the UK has publicly supplied these missiles.
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