Russian National Guard colonel sentenced to six years for failing to secure Crimean bridge against Ukrainian drones

A Russian court has sentenced a Russian national guard (Rosgvardia) colonel for failing to take adequate measures to protect the Kerch Strait Bridge from Ukrainian drones. The bridge links Russia with the annexed Crimean Peninsula. The Second Western District Military Court sentenced Rosgvardiya's naval management department head Colonel Sergey Volkov to six years in a general-regime penal colony, reports Mediazona. In addition, Volkov has been banned from holding public office for two years.

Volkov was found guilty under the Penal Code article for abuse of power with grave consequences.

Reports about the detention of Rosgvardia’s naval management department head appeared in March 2023. The prosecution had sought a seven-year prison sentence, a military rank and state awards forfeiture, with a three-year ban on holding positions, reported the newspaper Kommersant.

The investigation found that Volkov had approved anti-drone radar systems, earmarked for protecting the Crimean Bridge, supplied by the Rostov Research Institute of Radio Communications under a contract worth 395.5 million rubles ($4.5 million). It later emerged that these systems were ineffective against unmanned aerial vehicles, Mediazona quotes from the investigative materials.

While delivering the sentence, the judge pointed out that the radars were operational but unfit for protection against drones. The defendant denied all charges. His defense insisted that the equipment was purchased from a monopolist in the field.

Ukraine has repeatedly claimed that it considers the bridge a legitimate military target as it also serves to supply Russian troops in Ukraine. Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale military aggression, the Crimean Bridge has sustained serious damage twice - in October 2022 and July 2023. The first incident involved the collapse of three spans due to a truck explosion, and in the second explosion, one span fell, and another was damaged. The first blast claimed four lives, while the second killed a couple in one of the vehicles. The Security Service of Ukraine has claimed responsibility for the explosions.

  War in Ukraine, Crimean Bridge