The latest attack on the Crimea Bridge has once again highlighted its importance to Russia, as well as its vulnerability but surprising resilience.
Also known as the Kerch Bridge, it connects mainland Russia to the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula.
Despite facing two attacks within the past 10 months, the bridge has not been completely severed, and here are six possible reasons why it stands strong.
- Two killed in explosions on Crimea's Kerch Bridge, Russia says
- MI6 boss says Ukraine's counter-attack has left Russia in a losing position
- Ukrainian general expects new offensive to be long-haul battle with no fast results
Firstly, the Kerch Bridge is a structurally robust marvel, designed to withstand substantial pressure. Its massive structure, with piles going 100 metres into the ground, allows it to endure various forces, including high winds, earthquakes, and even explosions.
Secondly, the bridge's remote location plays a crucial role in its survival. Situated far from Ukraine's unoccupied ports and beyond the range of certain missile systems, such as Himars missiles supplied by the US, the bridge remains, relatively, out of harm's way.
The third reason involves a strategic choice by Ukraine. While the bridge serves as a critical supply route for the Russian Army, it is also known as President Putin's pet project.
Further attacks on the bridge could provoke Russia to retaliate by targeting Ukrainian cities, leading to civilian casualties and alienating the Russian population, which Ukraine hopes will grow weary of the ongoing war.
The fourth reason lies in the valuable intelligence the bridge provides to Ukraine and Western countries. By observing the bridge, they can monitor the flow of equipment and reinforcements from Russia into southern Ukraine, keeping a close eye on Moscow's actions.
The fifth reason centres on the bridge serving as an escape route for the Russian military, which would give them a way to easily retreat rather than being cornered in Crimea and forcing a desperate stand.
Lastly, the bridge could be used as a negotiation lever by Ukraine. Considering its significant financial and personal connections to President Putin, the bridge's destruction could be exploited in future peace negotiations, appealing to Mr Putin's ego and potentially offering Kyiv a strategic advantage.
While Ukraine could inflict more damage using drone boats, it seems its troops have chosen not to, carefully weighing the consequences.
Instead of merely attempting to destroy the bridge outright, Kyiv may be playing the long game, understanding that control over the bridge could prove valuable in a post-war scenario.
It's going to take at least two months, probably more, to repair the damage – but the Russians may well ask why bother when it's only going to be attacked again.