Russia – Ukraine War: Kiev blows up its bridges to prevent the enemy from entering

Checkpoint, barricade, checkpoint, barricade, checkpoint. Get out of Kyiv heading to the front means overcoming an endless series of filters that the Ukrainian defense has been raising in recent days to try to secure the country’s capital. This is the direct route that the kilometric Russian convoy that comes from Belarus has to travel to attack Kiev, but the road is increasingly complicated because, in addition to the defense measures, The Ukrainian Army has blown up the bridge in the small town of Romanov, a key step to access the big city. The armed opposition, according to the local forces, would be the reason that delays the arrival of the enemy.

With the aforementioned convoy located fifteen kilometers from the capital, they decided to “destroy the viaduct to make it difficult for the enemy to pass. It was a controlled blast and in this way we close the main access road from the north”, explains Alexander, one of the Ukrainian Army officers responsible for the protection of this sensitive place.

A group of soldiers prepare their supplies there to go to the front. The modern bridge is now a jumble of iron and cement rubble. Instead, a pipe with a railing in the yellow and blue colors of the national flagl serves as the only way of passage and you have to balance, to cross the river without falling. “Fucking Russians!”, yells one of the young men in uniform before going down to the riverbed and starting to walk through the narrow tube. There is a van stuck upside down in the middle of the Irpin riverbedthe tributary of the Dnipro that will now be much more difficult for the Russians to overcome.

Each detonation of the artillery causes a scare that automatically makes you lower your head. The soldiers laugh. They are used to it and do not flinch. “This is us. This is the sound of our artillery sending ‘gifts’ to the Russians“, they say. When they are asked how far away the enemy is, they respond evasively. They do not want to give that information, but the preparations and the detonations at this point suggest that it is not very long, no more than 30 kilometers , according to the neighbors who cross the new improvised step.

Military attacks in Ukraine this March 2

Military attacks in Ukraine this March 2

From shore to shore on a tube

Once the soldiers have crossed, a steady trickle of civilians follows. Some as Nadia go from one bank to the other to do the shopping at the supermarket and then they go home. Before they could do it comfortably by car. Now you have to be a tightrope walker and it is better to have help, especially if you go with a load, to be successful.

“They attack civilian houses, they don’t respect anything, why do they come to Ukraine? Let them go back to Russia!“, shouts Nadia, who due to her advanced age has serious problems crossing. The military are at the top. Down in the riverbed, those who are in charge of helping those who cross are volunteers from the Defense units Territorial, omnipresent throughout the country since the conflict broke out.

“They are close, very close and they also use planes. It is incredible that this is happening in the 21st century,” laments Nikolai, who comes from Irpin, a town 47 kilometers from the capital and one of the last places punished by the Russians. He takes his bicycle and, after overcoming the trance of the pipe-bridge as if it were a cyclocross test with the saddle on his shoulder, he resumes his course towards Kiev pedaling. In the capital the gas stations are closed, there is no fuel left and the supply has been cut off. Cars are also scarce, public transport has disappeared and now it is a police van that occasionally goes to this bridge to pick up civilians who are escaping from the area and are trying to get to the center of the city.

to the explosions, the apocalyptic image of the elegant four-lane bridge burst and the mighty river must add the snow. Some families take suitcases and leave this area with a Russian presence for a while. Those who leave and those who remain share the same greeting every time they come across a soldier. They raise their right fist and shout proudly: “Slava Ukraine!” (Glory to Ukraine).

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