David Arakhamia, the head of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s party in parliament and a member of Kyiv’s negotiating team with Russia released a Telegram statement about the incident, saying: “Russian illegal construction is starting to collapse and catch fire. The reason is simple: if you build something explosive, sooner or later, it will explode. And this is just the beginning.”
Mykhailo Podoliak, who serves as an adviser to Zelensky echoed the sentiment. “Crimea, the bridge, the beginning. Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled,” Podoliak said.Voitovych, Olga, Kostan Nechyporenko, Josh Pennington, and Hannah Ritchie. “‘Air defense of the Russian Federation, are you sleeping?’ Ukrainian officials respond to Kerch bridge explosion.” CNN, October 8, 2022.
Ukraine, perhaps, has announced its full intention to divorce Russia from its sovereign territory without exception. Today’s explosion and fire on Kerch Strait Bridge, the lengthy causeway linking Russia to Crimea by road and rail, will slow Russian resupply to Russian-speaking Ukrainians, Russians, and Russian soldiery recently delivered to Crimea for training.
Given Ukrainian President Zelensky’s determination to remove the last Russian armed presence from Ukraine’s sovereign territory, the contest is bound to lead to the elimination of Russian Naval Base in Sevastopol. The base had been started in 1772, finished eleven years later, fought over in the 19th Century, abandoned by Russia in 1855, occupied by the German Imperial Army in 1918, again lost to Nazi Germany in 1942, and leased by Russia for its Black Sea Fleet since the end of the Cold War.
As noted in a France24 video in 2019, a tour guide says to the reporter, “It’s a fleet that was armed two years ago. Everything we see in this bay is weaponry that appeared over the past five years” (1:55).
BackChannels concurs with perhaps less subtlety: Russia has clearly overplayed its position, and in the say of “soft power”, it has sacrificed any cultural or peaceful benefits it may have brought with its presence in exchange for bullying willful destruction and terror and nothing else. Russia has nothing to offer Europe or Ukraine at this time, and with Putin’s criminal enterprise–that’s all it has been since the early-mid 1990s–it has no place to go in history and has only sealed its fate in Ukraine.