Unlike the July attack on the Crimean Bridge by the Ukrainian Defence Forces, which was launched by drones, last year’s October attack was carried out using a truck with explosives.
Source: NV magazine
Details: The first strike on the Crimean Bridge took place on the morning of 8 October 2022, the day after Vladimir Putin’s 70th birthday. It involved a truck with explosives wrapped in foil. The second strike on the bridge was carried out by Ukraine on the night of 16-17 July 2023, with naval surface drones in an operation called, like the drones, Sea Baby.
NV reconstructed these two events by interviewing Vasyl Maliuk, the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), who recently commented on the second bridge strike to CNN.
The head of the SSU stressed that these operations were prepared exclusively by Ukrainian forces and that no foreign intelligence services were involved.
“The development and implementation of the special operation with the bridge was carried out by me personally and two of my trusted employees,” Vasyl Maliuk commented to NV, speaking about the first strike.
According to Maliuk, the SSU has been planning to blow up the Crimean Bridge since the spring of 2022. Various options were considered: to transport explosives in freight cars (but Russian invaders only allow military cargo to pass by rail) or to send a truck with oil barrels in which the explosives would be hidden (but this did not guarantee invisibility). In the end, the head of the SSU came up with a variant with explosives carefully wrapped in cellophane foil. This cargo of large rolls was supposed to look civilian and not arouse suspicion.
The SSU calculated the thickness of the foil layer to be sufficient to hide the metal cylinders and cores inflated with hexogen mixture from customs scanners.
“The ‘rolls’ filled an entire container; their total weight in TNT equivalent corresponded to 21 tonnes or 42 Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missiles.
The first strike on the Crimean Bridge in October 2022 was carried out using explosives in rolls.
PHOTO: SSU FROM NV
The passage of cargo from Ukraine to the site of the explosion on the bridge was very difficult. Vasyl Maliuk does not disclose the details of this risky route but states that Ukraine did not involve foreign partners; only the capabilities of the Security Service of Ukraine were used.
The Security Service of Ukraine had to take another important aspect into account: there are special electronic warfare systems at the posts near the Crimean Bridge, whose task is to jam GPS coordinates on explosive devices tuned to a specific location. The team formed by Maliuk created a technically sophisticated system that allowed the “foil” cargo to explode in the early morning hours of 8 October 2022, approximately in the middle of the bridge.
Maliuk watched the explosion in his office in real-time thanks to the camera, but he does not reveal where it was installed.
Quote from Maliuk: “We went through seven circles of hell; we used so many people without their knowledge! The Russians detained 22 people and imprisoned them. They are all charged with complicity in a terrorist act. But in fact, they were engaged in their usual everyday business. They were ordinary Russian smugglers.”
Details: After the first “pen test” [attempt – ed.], the Security Service of Ukraine immediately set about developing a new strike on the bridge. The head of one of the military counter-intelligence departments, an officer who goes under the alias Hunter and had a hand in the creation of naval drones, played a major role in the implementation of this idea.
Ukrainian secret service officers created remote-controlled kamikaze boats loaded with explosives, made of a unique material invisible to Russian radars, and designed to provide for three types of control and self-destruction if necessary.
For the first time in a real battle, the SSU engineers and specialists tested floating drones on ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet when they attacked the Admiral Makarov and Admiral Essen missile frigates in Sevastopol Bay last autumn. The latter was in the dock for a long time after the attack for repairs.
Realising that drones are not capable of sinking large vessels, the amount of explosives on them was increased to 850 kg of hexogen. The drone control system was also upgraded, resulting in a brand new model of a surface “avenger”.
Maliuk engaged Navy Commander Oleksii Neizhpapa in cooperation. The joint team of the
Navy and secret service began preparing a naval operation to blow up the Crimean Bridge.
The drones continued to be improved, even with the installation of two long-range Shmel-M rocket launchers on the hull. There was other know-how, the details of which the Security Service of Ukraine has not yet disclosed.
In mid-July, the Security Service of Ukraine and the Navy finally launched drones into the open sea, aiming them at the target. The drones struck the bridge’s pillars, knocking down an entire span of its roadway, as evidenced by the photos released later.
Quote from Maliuk: “We didn’t sleep for two nights; we were watching the drones every minute. We were on such a drive that we had to calm the guys down so they wouldn’t race the drones.
When the explosion occurred, we were shouting very loudly because the tension inside was enormous. To be honest, I was praying that everything would work out. And when the drone exploded, we also ‘exploded’ with joy.”
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