Russia and Lithuania Exchange Sharp Words Over Crimea Bridge Threats

Written by Henrik Rothen

Apr.28 - 2024 11:25 AM CET

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Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
Rhetoric Intensifies Amid Rising Stakes in Eastern Europe.

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The diplomatic temperature between Russia and Lithuania spiked recently following provocative comments and imagery centered around the strategic Crimean Bridge.

Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, lashed out on social media platform X in response to a collage shared by Lithuanian Ambassador to Sweden, Linas Linkevičius.

The collage, featuring an image of the Crimean Bridge with a rocket, seems to have rekindled tensions over this hotly contested region.

Polyanskiy's retort on social media was blunt:

"They bark fervently now, but will whimper pitifully when judgment day comes and they will regret all such blunders."

Echoes of Past Incidents Fuel Current Discord

The exchange between Polyanskiy and Linkevičius does not exist in a vacuum. It appears to be inspired by a 2022 social media post from Radoslaw Sikorski, then Poland’s foreign minister, who provocatively thanked the USA alongside an image of the damaged Nord Stream gas pipelines.

Meanwhile, threats to the Crimean Bridge are not merely rhetorical. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously announced plans as part of a counteroffensive, which includes targeting the bridge—a critical supply route for military assets.

The Ukrainian military strategy, as stated by Naval Forces spokesperson Dmitry Pletenchuk, is to strike the bridge when strategically necessary.

Past Attacks and Future Threats

The Crimean Bridge has already been a target in the ongoing conflict.

In October 2022, an explosion attributed to Ukrainian forces damaged sections of the bridge, underscoring its vulnerability and strategic importance.

Further attacks continued into July 2023, showcasing a pattern of military focus on this pivotal infrastructure.

Advisors to President Zelensky, such as Mikhail Podolyak, have openly discussed coordination with Western allies regarding strikes on Russian-held territories in Crimea. These disclosures align with reports from Western media and intelligence about planned attacks, including potential use of advanced missile technology and unmanned drones.

In response to these ongoing threats, Russian officials have repeatedly assured that the Crimean Bridge is well-protected. Senator from Crimea, Olga Kovitidi, emphasized the readiness to hold any aggressors accountable, marking a stern stance against perceived provocations.

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