International

Truck blast downs part of Crimean bridge to Russia, disrupting key connector

Associated Press
A helicopter flies to drop water to stop fire on Crimean Bridge connecting Russian mainland and Crimean peninsula over the Kerch Strait, in Kerch, Crimea, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. Russian authorities say a truck bomb has caused a fire and the collapse of a section of a bridge linking Russia-annexed Crimea with Russia. The bridge is a key supply artery for Moscow’s faltering war effort in southern Ukraine. (AP Photo)

Part of a bridge connecting annexed Crimea with Russia sustained heavy damage after a massive explosion on Saturday, disrupting a key route for Russia to supply its forces in its invasion of Ukraine. 

Russia’s Investigative Committee, the main agency responsible for conducting federal probes, said in a Telegram post that a truck blew up from the side of the Taman Peninsula, part of Russia. The explosion ignited seven fuel tanks in a train heading toward the Crimean Peninsula, causing two car spans to collapse. 

The post states that forensic experts are traveling to the scene to investigate. The committee has opened a criminal investigation into the event. 

The bridge was built after Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 following a referendum that was widely condemned by most of the international community as unfree and unfair.

Russia most recently held referendums in four Ukrainian regions in the east late last month, which were also denounced as illegal. Following the votes, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the regions’ annexation, but shortly afterward, Ukrainian forces made military gains in some of the annexed areas.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, praised the explosion in a tweet, saying that it was just “the beginning.” 

“Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled,” he said. 

A spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, criticized Ukrainian officials’ reaction to the blast, saying in a Telegram post that it demonstrates the “terrorist nature” of its government. 

The Moscow Times reported that three people were killed in the explosion. 

Video posted online showed a major fire burning on the bridge and parts of it in the water below. 

The bridge has served as part of a key supply route for Russian troops as the war has continued, and its destruction could be a significant setback to Russia providing supplies to Crimea. 

Russian news agencies reported that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian government does not have a timeline for repairing the bridge.

Tass reported later Saturday that Putin signed a decree to enhance security measures around the bridge following the explosion. The order also increases security for the energy bridge and gas pipeline connecting Crimea with Russia.

The outlet reported that the section of the bridge connecting Crimea with the Krasnodar region, the part of Russia that borders Crimea, was not damaged.

Traffic on the bridge completely stopped after the explosion, but the bridge was partially reopened for automobiles and buses after 4 p.m. local time after a test run on the bridge’s rails was successful.

Updated at 3:12 p.m.

Tags Crimea Crimean bridge Dmitry Peskov explosion Russia-Ukraine war Vladimir Putin Volodymyr Zelensky
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