Ukraine: A car bomb blast paralyzes the Russian bridge in Crimea
A vehicle bomb ignited a major fire on the Crimean bridge, a key infrastructure and symbol of the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of the same name, the Russian National Counter-Terrorism Committee said on Saturday, without immediately accusing Ukraine.
Footage from the bridge circulated online shows the railway line on fire and a section of road that has collapsed.
This bridge, which was built at great expense on the orders of Vladimir Putin to connect the annexed peninsula with Russian territory, is used in particular to transport military equipment for the Russian army fighting in Ukraine.
If Ukraine is behind the Crimean bridge fire and explosion, the fact that such vital infrastructure could be damaged so far from the front lines by Ukrainian forces would be a snub to Moscow.
Especially as Russia has suffered a series of military setbacks since early September, with its troops being forced to retreat in both the north-east and south of the country, particularly in the Kherson region bordering Crimea, which Putin is calling for annexation.
“Today at 06:07 (03:07 GMT) on the road part of the Crimean bridge (…) a car bomb explosion took place, setting fire to seven railway tanks heading to Crimea,” the committee said, quoted by the Russian authorities .
The Kremlin spokesman told Ria Novosti agency that Vladimir Putin had ordered the formation of a government commission to investigate the matter.
According to the Anti-Terrorism Committee, two lanes of traffic were damaged, but the arch of the bridge was not affected.
Rail and road services have been halted and ferries have been set up to allow the crossing, Russian authorities said.
– Ukrainian vandals –
Russia’s Investigative Committee, the country’s main investigative agency, has promised to identify “everyone connected to this crime” and launch a criminal investigation.
The head of the Crimean assembly, the Russian-installed regional parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, condemned a coup “by the Ukrainian vandals”.
Ukraine did not comment, but the Ukrainian President’s chief of staff, Andriy Iermak, tweeted an emoticon depicting a bridge in clouds of smoke.
“Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be brought back to Ukraine,” tweeted Mikhailo Podoliak, another adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
This bridge is essential for transporting people and goods to the peninsula, but also for the troops stationed in Ukraine. Inaugurated in 2018, the bridge spans the Kerch Strait and became a symbol of the 2014 annexation.
Kirill Stremoussov, an official of the Russian occupation in Ukraine’s Kherson region, adjacent to Crimea, posted video surveillance of the bridge on his Telegram account showing a violent explosion. According to him, the repairs could take “two months”.
Russia has always claimed the bridge is safe despite fighting in Ukraine, but has in the past threatened Kyiv with reprisals if Ukrainian forces attack this or other infrastructure in Crimea.
Russian MP Oleg Morozov, quoted by the Ria Novosti agency, on Saturday called for an “appropriate” response. “Otherwise these kinds of terrorist attacks will multiply,” he said.
In recent months, there have been several explosions at Russian military installations in the peninsula, which were likely the result of Ukrainian operations, such as when the Yankoy military base was devastated by an ammunition depot explosion in August, prompting an exodus of tourists from the region.
– serial error –
Russian authorities have always been stingy with explanations about Djankoy and other similar incidents at arms depots elsewhere in Russia but near the Ukrainian border.
Moscow finally admitted to “sabotage” in Djankoï, weeks later the Ukrainian army recognized its responsibility.
Since the beginning of September, the Russian armed forces have had to withdraw from many parts of the front. In particular, they were forced to flee from the Kharkiv region (northeast) and retreat to the Kherson region.
In the face of these setbacks in the face of a Ukrainian army that was being strengthened by Western arms supplies, President Putin ordered the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of reservists, i.e. civilians, at the end of September in order to reverse the trend.
He also decreed the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, although Moscow only partially controls them.
Ukraine has claimed the restoration of thousands of km2 since the beginning of September and the launch of its counter-offensive at several points on the front lines.
The only battlefield where Moscow currently has an advantage is near the town of Bakhmout in the Donetsk region (east), which Russian forces have been attempting to capture since August.
The failures of the last few weeks are so great that the army and its leadership have come under criticism from prominent personalities, even in the state media.
It is always my pleasure to provide insightful information on important topics and if you have learned something from my article then I thank you for taking the time to share it with your friends or family.
We put a lot of heart and invest a lot of time trying to bring you the most interesting articles.
You would encourage us to do it even better in the future. Thank you!