Moscow said on Saturday that a truck explosion had set off a massive fire that severely damaged the important Kerch Bridge, built as Russia’s only land route to the annexed Crimea, and immediately blamed Ukraine. I vowed to find the perpetrators without doing anything.
Russia said the blast set seven oil tankers transported by train on fire and collapsed two lanes of a huge road and rail structure.
Dramatic footage on social media showed the bridge on fire and parts jumping into the water.
“Today at 6:07 am (0307 GMT) on the road traffic side of the Crimean Bridge … a car bomb exploded, setting fire to seven oil tankers being transported by rail to Crimea,” the Terrorism Commission said. As you said.
Inaugurated by President Vladimir Putin himself in 2018, the bridge is an important transport link for carrying military equipment to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.
It is very important that the Kremlin and Moscow kept the bridge crossing safe despite the fighting.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhail Podryak previously posted a photo on Twitter of a long section of the bridge half submerged.
“Crimea, bridge, beginning,” he wrote.
“Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled.”
The Ukrainian Post Office announced that it is preparing to print a stamp showing the “Crimean Bridge, or more precisely the remains of the bridge”.
A Kremlin spokesman said Putin had ordered a commission to investigate the explosion, Russian news agency reported.
Russia’s powerful Commission of Investigation has launched a criminal investigation into the blast and has sent detectives to the scene.
A truck exploded “from the Taman peninsula side of the Crimean bridge on the motor vehicle side,” it said.
This caused “seven fuel tanks to catch fire on a train bound for Crimea, resulting in the partial collapse of two lanes.”
Moscow officials did not go so far as to condemn Kyiv.
But officials in the Russian-installed Crimea blamed “Ukrainian vandals.” Another person from the neighboring Kherson region said repairs could “take two months”.
A spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry also said Kyiv’s reaction to the blast showed a “terrorist nature”.
– “The Undisguised War on Terror” –
Russia’s ruling party vice-president Oleg Morozov told Russian news agency Novosti that there is an undisguised terrorist war against us.
“There will be more such attacks if we don’t keep quiet and take proper action,” he said.
There have been several explosions at Russian military installations in Crimea.
If it is established that Ukraine was behind the latest explosion, alarm bells could ring on bridges far from the front lines.
The explosion comes after Ukraine’s recent lightning-fast territorial gains in the east and south, undermining the Kremlin’s claim to have annexed Donetsk, neighboring Lugansk, and the southern regions of Zaporizhia and Kherson.
Sergey Aksyonov, head of the Moscow-installed peninsula, called on Crimeans to keep “calm” as authorities appeared to downplay the explosion.
“I call on everyone to stay calm and stop spreading false information,” he said on Telegram. “The situation is under control and experts are working on the ground.”
He said rail connections to Russia had been stopped, adding that authorities had set up food and heating points to help stranded drivers.
Officials have also sought to allay fears of food and fuel shortages in Crimea, which has been completely dependent on mainland Russia since Moscow annexed it in 2014.
Russia’s Ministry of Transport said ferry services have started. The Energy Department has told agencies that the peninsula is well supplied with fuel.
The explosion occurred the day after President Vladimir Putin’s 70th birthday.
– some Russian interests –
Russian forces announced on Friday that they had captured a position in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine.
Separatist forces in the war-torn Donetsk region said they had recaptured a series of villages near the Ukrainian-controlled industrial city of Bakhmut, which had been under Russian shelling for weeks.
The Donetsk region, which has been partially controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists for years, is a significant prize for Russian forces that sent troops to Ukraine in February.
However, Kyiv forces have been pushing back Russian soldiers across the southern and eastern fronts, including parts of Donetsk, in recent weeks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said late Friday that his forces had recaptured about 2,500 square kilometers (965 square miles) in a counteroffensive that began late last month.
Zelensky has pushed to punish Russia in other areas, calling on the EU to step up pressure on the energy sector a day after the EU imposed new sanctions on Russia.
More than seven months after the Russian offensive, Putin has made vague threats to use nuclear weapons.
US President Joe Biden warned on Thursday that the world was facing “Armageddon” because Putin could use nuclear weapons.
But by Friday, the White House had sounded the alarm, saying the president’s comments did not reflect new information.