“If you try to send a rocket in the direction of the peninsula, Kyiv may lose all its bridges at once”
On May 9, Kyiv plans to strike at the Crimean bridge. These plans were announced to the Latvian radio by the captain of the National Armed Forces, Janis Slaydins. He believes that the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine now allows the Armed Forces of Ukraine to do this.
Is that so? And what weapons delivered by NATO countries to Ukraine can threaten the Crimean bridge, military historian, director of the Air Defense Forces Museum Yuri Knutov told MK.
The Crimean bridge has always been a thorn in the eye of the Kyiv authorities. At first, they argued that the bridge was an invention of the Kremlin, since such a structure, in principle, could not be built on that site. Then, when it became impossible to deny the existence of the bridge, Kyiv began to make plans to destroy it: blow it up, ram it, subject it to rocket fire … It did not work out.
Half a year ago, on live TV, a Ukrainian TV journalist asked the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov: should we go over the Crimean bridge? Danilov replied: if they could, they would have done it long ago. But immediately realizing that he was too frank, he promised: as soon as it becomes possible, we will immediately implement it.
And now, according to Janis Slaidiņš, this opportunity has appeared? He noted: “This possibility should be maintained, because after the supplies of Western countries, Ukraine has the opportunity to strike at this strategically very important bridge.” The goal is to make it difficult to supply reserves to Russian troops from the south.
How realistic are such plans?
– In my opinion, – says Yuriy Knutov, – the Western friends of Ukraine have not set anything special so far. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of one type have a range of 10 km, the other – up to 40 km. With such opportunities, it is unrealistic to work on the Crimean bridge. These UAVs simply will not reach him.
Turkish “Bayraktar” can fly. In the latest modification, his range has been seriously increased due to the fact that he received a satellite control system. True, it is not known whether these UAVs exist in Ukraine. But in any case, all those “bombs” and “rackets” that this device can carry, although highly accurate, are extremely small in power in order to damage the bridge itself.
– Bridgestone seems to have started to be used the other day. When launched from an aircraft (and in the conditions of Ukraine this is impossible), their range is at least 20 km. And new modifications – and further. But the Armed Forces of Ukraine are now using them from ground installations, and this is a maximum range of 10 km. So they can't do anything either.
– Yes. For example, the Ukrainian anti-ship missile “Neptune”. And most importantly, the American Harpoon anti-ship missile, the most widespread in the world. Britain announced the supply of these missiles to Ukraine. In general, there is a suspicion that the cruiser “Moskva” was fired not with the Ukrainian missile “Neptune”, but with the “Harpoon”. Moreover, NATO members fired, not Ukrainians.
-It depends on the carrier, modification of the missile itself and target designation. Depending on this, from 90 to 220 km. The most important thing is that the Ukrainian missiles “Neptune” and the American “Harpoon” go at a height of 10-15 m, and approach the target at a height of only 5 m.
-Only if a boat approaches the required distance, modified for the use of such missiles.
-Yes. This cannot be ruled out, since in Ukraine one of the factories was just engaged in modifying boats and small ships for such missiles.
But again, none of them can seriously damage the bridge. At least they won't do anything to the bridge supports. The bases are strongest. Withstand even the ramming of a large ship. The only thing is that the surface of the bridge itself can be spoiled by such a rocket. For some time, no more than a week, the bridge can be disabled.
– Yes, but Tochki-U will not reach the bridge. Our troops pushed back the Ukrainian positions so much that now they cannot reach the Crimean bridge.
– Judging by the fact that Ukraine has never used this missile, it is not clear what state its development is in. It can be assumed that in its infancy. Much more disturbing are reports about the American HIMARS system, which the United States, as officially stated, is supplying to Ukraine.
– Its basis is an armored truck, where you can install a launcher with the Grad MLRS, or you can – a special container, launcher for just one missile with a range of 300 km.
In what configuration the Americans supply HIMARS, it is difficult to say. But, given that they said: we will send equipment capable of firing at military airfields on Russian territory, there is a suspicion that they could sell missiles of precisely increased range. Such a rocket can really reach the bridge.
– We have not yet observed such a missile in action, we do not have its parameters, accurate telemetry, in order to unequivocally state whether our air defense systems can work on it. Personally, I believe that the Buk-M3 is able to shoot down such a target. I think that the S-300 and S-400 can also destroy it. And, no problem. But this has not yet been confirmed by practice – we have not yet had it. So we can say that today such a threat theoretically exists.
I emphasize: theoretically. But if we compare the characteristics, we can say that our fully digital version of the Buk-M3 complex works great for such purposes. Buk-M2 does it well too, but Buk-M3 is an order of magnitude better. Yes, and the S-350 “Vityaz” is capable of brilliantly shooting down such targets.
– As you know, our Crimean bridge is the most protected bridge in the world. Well, I can only say a big thank you to Janis Slaydins – our man is worried about the combat readiness of Russian air defense! Hearing his warning, they will probably watch even more closely every place where a missile is launched in the direction of the Crimean bridge. And each such position, in which case, will be destroyed by our Iskander missiles.
And I think that with any attempt to send a missile towards Crimea, Kyiv may lose all its bridges in response.