Ukraine has launched another attack on the vital Crimean bridge which links Russia to the Crimean peninsula, according to Moscow officials.
The defense ministry and Crimean officials say a pair of S-200 missiles had been inbound but Russian anti-air defenses engaged and shot them down. Unconfirmed video footage shows large plumes of smoke rising near or on the Crimean bridge, also known as the Kerch bridge, as of Saturday afternoon.
This would mark the third Ukrainian operation targeting the bridge in just the last few months. Traffic has been temporarily halted in this newest instance, but authorities say it is quickly resuming.
Governor of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov said on Telegram that the bridge was not damaged. "Two enemy missiles were shot down by the air defense system in the area of the Kerch Strait. The Crimean bridge was not affected," he wrote.
And Reuters noted additional drone attacks deeper inside Crimea, writing "Ukrainian forces targeted the Crimean Bridge and a number of other unspecified targets on the Crimean peninsula on Saturday in a flurry of rocket and drone attacks, but there were no casualties or damage," based on Russian military statements.
S-200 missiles, while typically surface-to-air weapons, can be outfitted for ground attack use, as was apparently the case with these particular Ukrainian missiles. Kiev has yet to acknowledge or take responsibility for the attack.
The Russian foreign ministry issued a statement in the wake of this newest incident, vowing that "such barbaric actions... will not go unanswered".
Another major Saturday development was the crash of a Russian Su-30 fighter jet in the Russia's Kaliningrad exclave. It was said to be on a training flight, and the two pilots on board were killed.
"The Su-30 aircraft crashed in a deserted area. The flight was being carried out without ammunition. The crew of the aircraft died," the ministry said as cited in RIA news agency. The statement cited a likely technical malfunction.
As for this latest Kerch bridge attack, Kiev appears intent on putting it out of commission - likely with NATO backing - in order to slow or disrupt the Russian logistical supply chain to military units in Ukraine's south, as the bridge remains the most vital link.