Ukraine War

British Intelligence Ukraine war map as of Sep. 1

As the conflict in Ukraine persists, British intelligence has provided a critical update on the evolving situation, focusing on the Kerch Strait and its significance in the conflict. This update sheds light on Russia’s reliance on the Crimean Bridge for military logistics support in the occupied areas of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts. It also details the extensive defense measures implemented by Russia to protect this crucial infrastructure.

The Kerch Strait: A Vital Military Logistics Bottleneck

The Kerch Strait has emerged as a pivotal bottleneck for military logistics support to Russian forces in the occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts. Russia heavily depends on the Crimean Bridge and ferry routes to facilitate the movement of troops and supplies to these areas. The bridge not only serves as a logistical lifeline but also holds symbolic significance as a manifestation of Russian occupation.

Passive and Active Defense Measures

To secure the survivability of water crossings across the Kerch Strait and mitigate potential damage from future attacks, Russia has implemented a combination of passive and active defense measures.

  1. Passive Defenses: These include the deployment of smoke generators and underwater barriers. Smoke generators, such as the TDA-3 truck-mounted systems, are used to create a smokescreen, concealing the bridge from potential threats. An exercise conducted in May 2023 demonstrated their capability to deter incoming air threats when activated in August 2023.
  2. Active Defenses: Russia has deployed air defense systems in the vicinity of the bridge to thwart aerial attacks. These systems enhance the bridge’s protection and the safety of personnel and equipment.

Underwater Barrier to Deter USV Attacks

One notable development, as of August 29, 2023, is the construction of an underwater barrier composed of submerged ships and containment booms. This barrier serves as a deterrent against Uncrewed Surface Vehicle (USV) attacks targeting the Crimean Bridge. In the southern part of the bridge, several vessels are strategically placed approximately 160 meters apart. Notably, this location aligns with the site of Ukrainian “Sea Baby” USV attacks that occurred on July 17, 2023.

Radar Decoys and Other Countermeasures

Russia has employed various countermeasures to safeguard the bridge. In September 2022, the Russian Navy briefly experimented with radar decoys placed on barges, likely intended to deter radar-seeking missiles. These measures demonstrate Russia’s commitment to defending the Crimean Bridge and its logistical significance.

Conclusion

The British intelligence update provides valuable insights into the strategic importance of the Kerch Strait in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Russia’s heavy reliance on the Crimean Bridge for military logistics support has led to extensive defense measures, including passive and active defenses, as well as the construction of an underwater barrier. These efforts underscore the critical role this infrastructure plays in the conflict and the lengths to which Russia is willing to go to protect it. As the situation continues to evolve, monitoring developments in the Kerch Strait remains essential in understanding the dynamics of the Ukraine War.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *