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Marine explains for the first time how he tried to blow up bridges connecting Crimea and mainland Ukraine

Thursday, 6 July 2023, 16:53
Marine explains for the first time how he tried to blow up bridges connecting Crimea and mainland Ukraine
IVAN SESTRYVATOVSKYI HAS BEEN SERVING IN THE MARINES SINCE 2016

Soldier Ivan Sestryvatovskyi, who was on duty on the border with Crimea on 24 February 2022, has explained for the first time how he tried to blow up the Chonhar bridges connecting temporarily occupied Crimea with mainland Ukraine, but the explosive devices did not work.

Source: UP material Soldier Sestryvatovskyi explains for the first time how he tried to blow up the Chongar bridges on the day of the invasion

Quote: "I went with the commander, my senior, to connect the devices for undermining the bridges. I stayed there, and he dealt with personnel.

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The explosives experts developed a special plan: there were envelopes that were opened if necessary, and in those envelopes, there were instructions for connecting explosive devices. We made that connection, and I was left to detonate it. 

There was no longer any communication; the radio stations did not work. The commander was engaged in staffing, running around the positions to place everyone. Mines were already exploding; it was very loud – you couldn’t shout loud enough to be heard.

Therefore, I essentially acted myself and personally made the decision to blow it up. 

I tried to detonate it, but the explosion did not happen... I tried to reconnect and check the wires: maybe some mistake happened, or something was connected incorrectly. Reconnected and tried again. I did it three times – there was no explosion. 

I'm not an explosives expert, but there are two options here. Either a sabotage group was landed, or the detonation wires were damaged by mortar fire." 

Details: Ivan Sestryvatovskyi had been serving in the 137th Marine Infantry Battalion since 2016. From 2021 – on Chonhar. He held the post of platoon chief sergeant and deputy platoon commander. 

The man is sure that all the bridges to Chongar were mined. He recalls how shortly before the full-scale war, about one and a half to two weeks, these mines were checked. 

Sestryvatovskyi himself is not an explosives expert, but he was instructed on how to connect explosive devices. 

After the unsuccessful detonation, the Marines began to withdraw from their positions. He did not have time to leave together with the unit, so he withdrew in his own car together with two conscripts. 

On 24 February, they were surrounded and captured by the Russians. The Chonhar defender was exchanged and brought back from captivity only on 26 April 2023.

At the time of publication of the material, the State Bureau of Investigation, which is conducting the case about unexploded bridges in Chonhar, has not yet questioned Sestryvatovskyi.

Background: In 2022, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine responded to rumours that before the invasion of Russian troops, the Ukrainian command had allegedly deactivated the mines on the road near Chonhar on the administrative border with occupied Crimea. The military denied this and explained that they were opposed by Russian forces 15 times superior.

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