Russian officials said a truck explosion on Saturday caused a fire and destroyed part of a bridge connecting Russia and Crimea. The bridge is considered an important supply route for Russian forces in southern Ukraine.
The Crimean Bridge, also known as the Kerch Strait Bridge or Kerch Bridge, is a 19-kilometre (12-mile) long structure that crosses the Kerch Strait and connects southern Russia with the Crimean peninsula. Kerch Strait connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
Around 6:00 am local time, a truck exploded on the bridge. Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Commission said the explosion had caused a fire on a parallel line section, igniting seven of his fuel-carrying railcars. The blast also caused “a partial collapse of his two sections of the bridge.”
Spokesperson for the State Highway Company of Russia (Avtodor) Said TASS reported that the movement of vehicles across the Crimean Bridge had been temporarily suspended, adding that “officials of the Russian Emergencies Ministry and Road Service are working at the scene to contain the fire.” The fire was then extinguished.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was informed of the explosion and ordered the creation of a government panel to deal with the emergency.
The bridge is under repair, but ferry service will be offered later on Saturday. Crimean head Sergei Aksyonov said in a Telegram: Tas: “We are ready to start the ferry service and will start running later today. Timetable will be announced later.”
Crimea is key to sustaining Russia’s military operations in the south. If the bridge becomes unusable, it will be very difficult to transport supplies to the peninsula. Russia occupied northern Crimea early in the invasion and built land routes along the Sea of Azov, but Ukraine is pressing for a counteroffensive to reclaim them.
Explosion at Crimean bridge happened hours later multiple explosions A series of secondary explosions struck the eastern Ukraine city of Kharkov early Saturday morning. Mayor Ihor Terekhov said the series of explosions was due to a missile attack aimed at the city center, and that one of the medical institutions in Kharkiv and a non-residential building were on fire. There were no reports of casualties.
Bridge Explosion ‘Begins’: Ukrainian Officials
While no one has yet explicitly claimed public responsibility for the attack, Mikhail Podolak, an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, posted on Twitter that the explosion was “the beginning.”
“Crimea, bridges, beginnings. Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled.” I have written In English.
Podolik threatened the bridge in August, Guardian The bridge is “an illegal construction and a major gateway for supplying Russian troops in Crimea” and “such an object should be destroyed”.
Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials also previously mentioned Ukraine will use force to retake Crimea.
In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, with the majority of Crimean residents. voted in a referendum March 2014 Reunification with Russia and secession from Ukraine. The vote came after a February 2014 armed coup overthrew the government of then-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was not anti-Russian, by anti-Russian and pro-EU factions.
The referendum was condemned by the United States and the European Union, the latter saying in a statement (pdf) said the poll was “illegal and illegal”. Both the US and EU have announced sanctions depending on the vote.
The Crimea Bridge, a $3.69 billion (230 billion rubles) project, was built after the annexation of Crimea. Russia opened the first part of his span to motor traffic in May 2018. A parallel bridge for rail traffic opened the following year. Before the bridge, Crimea could only be reached from Russia by sea or air.
It was Russia’s only land route to the peninsula until early 2022, when Russian forces fought heavy fighting, particularly around the city of Mariupol, and later captured more Ukrainian territory at the northern tip of the Sea of Azov.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.