The Kremlin retaliates the attack on the Crimean bridge with the attack on Ukraine

Residents of various Ukrainian cities were rocked by multiple rocket attacks on Monday morning, prompting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s retaliation for the attacked Crimean bridge. He spoke of a “terrorist attack” on vital infrastructure. “And he pays with horror,” said retired general Mart de Kruif.

There are said to be bombings in more than 20 provinces, according to Kiev. In particular, the cities of Dnipro, Lviv, Ternopil and Zaporizhia are said to be under attack. “He is escalating,” continues De Kruif on Good Morning Netherlands on NPO 1. “He wants to show that the attack on the bridge really hurt. But maybe it is also a signature of the new general who will conquer Ukraine on behalf of the Russians , Sergej Surovikin. He is known for his ruthlessness and his brutal regime.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked everyone to stay indoors. Authorities say at least five people have been killed and 12 wounded in the first attacks on the capital, Kiev, since June. It is still unclear how many victims there have been in the rest of the country, but it is likely that many civilians instead of military personnel. “In no conflict is it allowed to hit civilian targets, so what we’re seeing here are basically war crimes,” says De Kruif. “It’s shocking in a war between ‘civilized’ countries. It shows how fragile freedom is and how much evil still exists in this world.”

READ ALSO: Deaths and injuries from explosions in Kiev: ‘Civilian targets are apparently legitimate targets in this war’

Explosion on the Crimean bridge, Putin’s pride

Putin accuses the Ukrainian intelligence service of causing the explosion in Crimea, which connects the Crimean peninsula with Russia. This is of great military importance: “It is the connection between Russia and via Crimea to Kherson. So all supplies are primarily about this,” explains De Kruif. “All other supply lines can be shelled by Ukraine, so you’d better not do that. He now also has to remove people from the front to protect that bridge.”

But especially symbolically, the bridge has great value for Putin. “It is also his bridge. In 2014 he was at the front of the truck and he proudly drove over this bridge.”

Explosions in Kiev

The first explosions were heard in central Kiev shortly after 8 a.m. local time, said Mayor Vitali Klitschko and journalists present in Kiev. An Interior Ministry official tweeted that a rocket hit near the headquarters of Ukraine’s intelligence service and President Zelensky’s office.

The shelling of Kiev coincided with the morning rush hour. At one of the busiest traffic junctions in the metropolis, an attack hit a huge crater in the road. Several vehicles were completely destroyed and surrounding buildings were damaged. A crater has also been made next to a playground in a city park. Residents have been urged to seek safe haven in shelters such as the subway.

Have you hit Zelensky’s office?

The attacks could be carried out by kamikaze drones. “These are unmanned aircraft that you control remotely. They have a limited range, but I think that in cities further from the front, like Kiev and Lviv, you should think more about cruise missiles,’ says De Kruif.

An Interior Ministry official tweeted that a missile hit near the headquarters of Ukraine’s intelligence service and Zelensky’s office, but that remains uncertain. “Let’s hope he’s safe in any case,” says De Kruif. But should something happen to the president, it is “a mistake to assume that the opposition from Ukraine is based solely on Zelensky himself.” “You can very clearly see on the battlefield that the motivation of the Ukrainian military is much higher than that of the Russians. The will to fight is deeply rooted in the population.”

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De Kruif believes that it makes no sense that Russia would try to ‘break’ it, even with attacks like this. “History shows that this will never work because of terror. In fact, it could also have the effect of making people even more determined to win this war.”

The attacks on the capital have been described as the most intense since the early days of the war. A witness speaks of a fireball over the city. Mayor Klitschko said “Russian terrorists” are shelling the city with missiles. He warned that the danger is not over as long as the air raid siren is still going.

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President Zelensky spoke of an attempt “to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth.” He said attempts were made to kill civilians who were sleeping at home or on their way to work in Kiev. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense promised that revenge will be taken.

Putin meets with the Security Council

Putin will meet with his security council on Monday about the attack on the bridge. “It is difficult to assess what to expect from it. Perhaps it is also the symbolism, to show: We are doing something about it to keep Russia safe again and to prevent such attacks in the future,’ says De Kruif. “We know that there are also some discussions between the security services and the military, maybe they will be ironed out there. But it also shows that Putin and the Russians are panicked that they are losing on the battlefield.”

At the moment, Putin is mainly trying to buy time, the idle general explains. “When winter sets in, you’ll see the pace of operations slow down, mainly because of the weather, and that’s because the groups can’t run well because of the cold and snow,” he says. “What he wants to do now is lose as little ground as possible until winter comes. So he plays on time.”

READ ALSO: Attack on the Crimean bridge in Russia hard blow for Putin

By: Marinka Wagemans

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