At approximately 2348 EST on 22JUN23, reports began to emerge of a Ukrainian missile strike on the Chonhar Bridge, which connects Crimea to Kherson Oblast, serving as a key logistics route for Russian forces in and around Melitopol.
By 0000, Russian forces closed off the bridge to civilian traffic. Russian-appointed Kherson Oblast , Ukraine Governor Saldo told press that Ukrainian Storm Shadow missiles were used in the attack. Republic of Crimea Head Aksyonov confirmed the strike, but also stated that army experts were determining the exact munitions used.
Reported footage of the Ukrainian Storm Shadow strike on the Chonar Bridge between Crimea and Kherson Oblast pic.twitter.com/mLksjS7Ves
— Tessaron News (@TessaronF) June 22, 2023
By 0100 EST, Ukrainian MP Honcharenko claimed that this strike was vital to limiting Russian military movements in any reinforcement or retreat at Melitopol considering the Chonar Bridge is only one of three crossing points between Kherson and Crimea.
Around 0200 EST, Russian officials began to decry the strike. Russian Crimean Transport Minister Lukashenko attempted to brush off the strike, claiming no logistical issue arose due to the two land routes still available. However, Governor Saldo called the strike “another completely senseless action carried out by the Kyiv regime on orders from London.”
By 0400 EST, Governor Saldo began to make increasingly confrontational comments. He told press that forces in his territory would carry out strikes on bridges on the Moldovan-Ukrainian border. By 0800, the Moldovan Foreign Ministry summoned their Russian ambassador in response to those comments.
The Russian Investigative Committee also claimed that four missiles were used in the strike and they were of French origin from the inscriptions on the fragments.