Ukrainian intelligence claims that Russia planned its Monday missile strikes well before the Crimea bridge explosion on Sunday, seeking to refute Moscow’s claim that the strikes were in retaliation to the partial bridge collapse.
Kyiv has not officially claimed responsibility for the Kerch bridge attack, which claimed three lives and disrupted traffic for almost a day on the strategic link connecting Russia with Crimea.
Russian forces launched 71 missiles across Ukraine within a day of the attack, with 41 intercepted. Fourteen people were killed, according to Ukrainian authorities.
The Chief Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence said that the Kremlin ordered the strategic rocket and long-range aviation units of the Russian air force to prepare for the strikes on October 2 and 3.
Strikes Planned to Intimidate Europe
“Critical civilian infrastructure” and “central areas of densely populated Ukrainian cities” were chosen as the targets, the directorate added in its Telegram statement.
On October 8, seven Tu-160 strategic bombers carrying Kh-101 cruise missiles were shifted from the Engels airfield to the Olenya airfield, the statement read, adding that “six 6 cruise missile carriers with 40 Kalibr missiles were deployed on the external raid of Sevastopol.”
The strikes aimed to destroy Ukraine’s thermal power plants and create panic among the people. The attacks were also intended to intimidate the Europeans, according to Ukrainian intelligence.