SEVASTOPOL, July 16. /TASS/. Ukraine’s threats to destroy the Crimean Bridge are unrealistic because its army’s capabilities are only enough to conduct military exercises against an imaginary enemy, Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) deputy Dmitry Belik, who represents the Crimean city of Sevastopol, told TASS on Tuesday.
Some Russian and Ukrainian media outlets earlier cited a statement by former Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Alexander Turchinov, in which he had claimed that Kiev was capable of destroying the Crimean Bridge within minutes using cruise missiles that, according to him, also posed a threat to any Russian warships in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. This is not the first time that Ukraine has voiced such threats.
"In Turchinov’s little universe, Ukraine defeats all enemies and blows up the Crimean Bridge using a Neptune missile, which is a slight modification of the Soviet Union’s Kh-35 missile," Belik pointed out. "In real life, Kiev cannot even end the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine and stop killing civilians. The Ukrainian army is only capable of securing a victory in three cases — in media headlines, if it wages a war against civilians and if it conducts military drills against an imaginary enemy," the Russian lawmaker added.
After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in a coup in February 2014, mass protests erupted in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. On March 11, 2014, Crimea’s Supreme Council and Sevastopol City Council adopted a declaration of independence.
On March 16, 2014, Crimean authorities held a referendum on reuniting with Russia. Over 80% of voters participated in the plebiscite, most of them supporting the idea (96.7% in Crimea and 95.6% in the city of Sevastopol).
On March 18, 2014, President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the Federal Assembly (parliament) approved the document on March 21. However, Kiev has so far refused to acknowledge Crimea as a part of Russia.