Blast damages Crimea bridge, key supply route in Russia’s war in Ukraine
An explosive caused the partial collapse a bridge linking Crimea Peninsula and Russia on Saturday. This damaged a vital supply artery for the Kremlin’s faltering war efforts in southern Ukraine. Russian authorities claimed that the explosion was caused by a truck bomb and that three people were injured.
Photos posted on social media Saturday showed the Kerch Bridge in flames, which includes sections for automobiles and trains. The railway bridge was set ablaze, and a section from the parallel road bridge fell into the sea.
The bombing came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin turned 70, dealing him a humiliating blow that could lead him to up the ante in his war on Ukraine. According to CBS News’ Charlie D’Agata, a military analyst called it a “punch in the face” for Putin on his birthday.
The speaker of Crimea’s Kremlin-backed regional parliament immediately accused Ukraine, though the Kremlin didn’t apportion blame. While Ukrainian officials have repeatedly threatened the bridge, some praised the attack but Kyiv did not claim responsibility.
The explosion could have a dramatic escalation of Russia’s eight-month-old war. Some Russian lawmakers called for Putin to declare a counterterrorism operation in retaliation and drop the term “special military operations” that had downplayed Russia’s fighting capabilities.
The Kremlin could use such a move to expand the power of security agencies, ban rallies and tighten censorship. It could also introduce travel restrictions and expand the partial military mobilization Putin ordered last month.
On the eve of the explosion, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Gen. Sergei Surovkin, the air force chief, would be named commander for all Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. This was the first time that a single commander was appointed for all Russian forces fighting in Ukraine.
Surovikin had led Russian forces in Syria and was accused of overseeing a brutal bombardment that destroyed much of the city of Aleppo.
The Kerch Bridge opened in 2018 and is a tangible symbol of Moscow’s claims on Crimea. It has provided an essential link to the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee said the truck bomb caused seven railway cars carrying fuel to catch fire, resulting in a “partial collapse of two sections of the bridge.” Russia’s Investigative Committee stated that the explosion killed a man and woman who were riding in a vehicle over the bridge. It did not provide any details about the third victim nor what happened to the truck driver.
The blast occurred despite the fact that all vehicles crossing the bridge are subject to explosives checks by state-of–the-art control system. This drew a stream of criticism from Russian war bloggers, who urged Moscow strike at civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.
The truck that exploded was owned and operated by a resident from the Krasnodar region of southern Russia. Russia’s Investigative Committee stated that investigators searched the home of the man and looked at the truck’s route.
Train traffic and automobile traffic over bridge were temporarily suspended. Traffic resumed on Saturday afternoon on the one of the two bridges that survived the blast. The flow was alternating in each direction, and vehicles were subject to a “full inspection procedure”, Crimea’s Russia-backed regional leader Sergey Aksyonov wrote on Telegram. According to the Russian Transport Ministry,
Rail traffic will resume Saturday night. Meanwhile, passenger ferry links between Crimea, Russia and the Russian mainland are being relaunched on Sunday. The Russian Defense Ministry stated that troops in the South were receiving supplies via the land corridor along Sea of Azov as well as by sea. Russia’s Energy Ministry said Crimea has enough fuel for 15 days. Putin was made aware of the explosion and ordered the creation a government panel to address the emergency. The speaker of Crimea’s Kremlin-backed regional parliament attributed the explosion to Ukraine, but downplayed its severity and stated that the bridge would be repaired quickly.
Leonid Zyuganov, head of the foreign affairs panel in the lower house Russian parliament, stated that “consequences would be imminent” if Ukraine is to blame.
Gennady Ziuganov, head of the Russian Communist Party said that the “terror attack”, should be a wake-up call.
” The long-awaited measures have not been taken yet, and the special operation must become a counterterrorist operations,” he stated.
Sergei Mironov (head of the Just Russia faction) said that Russia should attack key infrastructure in Ukraine, including power plants, bridges, and railways, to respond to the explosion at the bridge. The statements of Zyuganov, Slutsky and others may indicate that Putin will declare a counterterrorism operation.