Russia claims it has a “land bridge”
Islam News – Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said its military had repaired about 750 miles of railroad track in southeastern Ukraine to secure a “land bridge” from Russia through Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, to occupied territory in Kherson and on to the Crimean Peninsula.
The New York Times“>The New York Times said that could help Russia bring heavy weapons into occupied Ukraine and give Russia a foothold on the Black Sea, though Shoigu’s claims could not be independently verified.
Shoigu also said fresh water was once again flowing through the North Crimean Canal. It once provided some 85 percent of the freshwater used by people in Crimea before Ukraine built a dam after Russia’s annexation of the peninsula. Here are live updates.
Background: Connecting Russia to territory captured in southern Ukraine would accomplish one of Moscow’s major objectives. President Vladimir Putin called the territory “historically Russian lands.”
Analysis: Moscow’s claims offered an even clearer sign that it intended to keep the occupied lands. Russia has also moved quickly to “Russify” the population there, introducing the ruble, appointing officials, rerouting internet connections to Russian servers and even changing the telephone country code.
Diplomacy: U.S. intelligence officials said they had more insight into Russia’s military operation than that of Ukraine.
Source: The New York Times