Since October 10, Russia has been shelling Ukraine in an unprecedented scale targeting civilian infrastructure and settlements.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that it was a response to the explosion of the Crimea bridge, as a result of which Russia temporarily lost connection with Crimea.
Three people died from the explosion of the bridge, at least 14 people were killed by the rockets fired by Russia on Ukraine on October 10, and about a hundred were injured.
The explosion of the bridge connecting Russia to the Crimean peninsula took place on October 8. According to the information of the Russian side, the bridge was blown up with an explosive placed in a truck.
Immediately after the explosion, there were reports that the bridge was targeted by a missile from the territory of Ukraine, which, however, was false.
According to official Russia, there is also an Armenian citizen, Artur Terjanyan, among those who carried out the operation of blowing up the bridge. The latter has dual citizenship of Armenia and Georgia and lives in Akhalkalak city of Javakhk.
Russian media publish a video showing the moment of the explosion on the Crimea bridge. pic.twitter.com/6nkGroyjHf
— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) October 8, 2022
Kyiv has not yet officially claimed responsibility for the explosion, but a number of high-ranking officials anonymously told media outlets that the operation was designed by Ukrainian special services.
According to official Moscow, the truck that took part in the Kerch bridge explosion operation came to Armenia from Georgia, then returned to Georgia from Armenia and crossed the Russian-Georgian border.
According to the State Revenue Committee of Armenia, the truck had passed all the required tests in Armenia and nothing suspicious was found.
The RA SRC and Russia’s special services also distributed X-ray photos of one of the trucks, in which no explosive device was found. According to Russian official information, two trucks took part in the operation, one of which passed through the territory of Armenia and was supposed to transport the “cargo,” while the other was already spotted by the security cameras of the bridge.
То, что это было два разных грузовика — заявлялось изначально. Первый — DAF, вёз груз из Грузии-Армении до Армавира, его фото есть в сегодняшнем сообщении ФСБ, именно его рентген на КПП Верхний Ларс приложен к публикации.
— Руслан Левиев (@RuslanLeviev) October 12, 2022
In the materials of the criminal case, an Armenian company, “GuRG GROUP” LLC, which was registered last year in Alaverdi community of Lori marz, under the name of Gurgen Gevorg Shlepchyan, is also mentioned. In one year, the company appeared in the list of 1000 largest taxpayers of Armenia, and according to Civilnet, Gurgen Shlepchyan lives in Georgia.
The Reaction in Armenia
Although official Russia did not make any specific qualification of the truck’s passage through Armenian territory or the Armenian citizens involved in the operation, after the explosion, a number of opposition figures in Armenia claimed that Armenia supported “terrorism.”
“This morning, it turned out that Armenia is participating in terrorist activities,” said Artak Zakaryan, former Minister of Defense, member of RPA. Zakaryan, however, later clarified the claim, stating that “it did not participate,” but allowed the explosive device to remain in Armenia “legally.”
However, according to the official statements of Armenia, the truck was not yet loaded with an explosive device in Armenia, moreover, the latter passed unhindered to Georgia and then to Russia through the Upper Lars checkpoint. In other words, there is no evidence to claim that the customs authorities of Armenia “allowed” the transit of explosives through Armenia, or that Armenia supported terrorism.
The explosion of the Kerch bridge was followed by Russia’s “response”. On October 10, Vladimir Putin declared that Russia had targeted “energy, military and communications infrastructure,” he also stated that there should be no doubt that “Russia will defend itself.”
Almost all regions of Ukraine were shelled. The capital city of Kyiv was also the target of the attacks.
Most of the targets were civil infrastructures that provided electricity and heating to the settlements, said Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A residential building was also targeted in Zaporizhzhia, and a playground in Kyiv.
After the strikes, electricity and water supply were cut off in many settlements. In some places, it took several days to eliminate the damage.
According to various estimates, 75-80 rockets were launched from the territory of Russia, and according to some claims, from Belarus as well.
After the targeting of Ukrainian power plants, the country’s Ministry of Energy decided to stop the export of electricity to the countries of the European Union. According to Ukrainian officials, this was the largest-scale attack on Ukraine’s energy system since the beginning of the war.
Ukraine was planning to receive about 1.5 billion euros of income from electricity exports by the end of the year.
After Russia’s attack on Ukrainian cities, a number of countries declared their readiness to supply air defense systems to Ukraine, and 15 European countries joined together to create a unified air defense network. The USA and Ukraine also started discussions on the acquisition of air defense systems.
On October 14, Ukraine announced that after the counter-offensive, the country liberated about 600 settlements that had come under the control of Russia after the start of the war.