The Crimean Bridge, a symbol of the Russian annexation of the peninsula, seriously damaged by an explosion

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Moscow announced the creation of a government commission to investigate what happened and also opened a criminal investigation. Without claiming responsibility for the event, several members of the Ukrainian government celebrated the explosion. The infrastructure, a vital artery for the Russian Army, was inaugurated in 2018 by President Vladimir Putin.

On Saturday, October 8, a strong explosion seriously damaged the Crimean bridge, a building that symbolizes the annexation of the peninsula to Russia and is a strategic axis for Moscow’s military operations in Ukraine.

According to Russian authorities, at least three people were killed in the incident, openly feared by Moscow for months.

A statement from the Russian National Antiterrorist Committee, issued in the morning, stated that a “truck bomb” was the cause of the explosion that occurred in the early morning (local time). The detonation collapsed two asphalt tracks and set fire to seven fuel tanks that passed through the rail section of the bridge.

“Today at 03.07 GMT on the automobile part of the Crimean bridge from the side of the Taman Peninsula (opposite the Kerch Peninsula), a truck exploded, causing seven fuel tanks of a train to catch fire. moved in the direction of the Crimean peninsula,” the Committee said, according to the Russian agency TASS.

The bridge between Moscow-annexed Crimea and Russia was severely damaged by an explosion on October 8, 2022.
The bridge between Moscow-annexed Crimea and Russia was severely damaged by an explosion on October 8, 2022. © Stringer, Reuters

Security camera footage showing the precise moment of the explosion, as well as countless videos of the incident, filmed from the road and from the city of Kerch, appear to match the Russian authorities’ account.

The head of the Crimean Assembly (the regional parliament installed by Russia), Vladimir Konstantinov, denounced what he considers to be an operation carried out by Ukraine. The reaction of an adviser to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, seems to support this accusation.

“Crimea, the bridge. This is the beginning,” Mikhailo Podoliak wrote on Twitter. “Everything that is illegal must be destroyed, everything that was stolen must be returned to Ukraine, and the Russian occupation must be expelled.”

Oleksi Danilov, head of the Ukraine Security Council, for his part published one of the videos of the fire accompanied by “Happy Birthday Mister President”, Marilyn Monroe’s song, in reference to Vladimir Putin’s 70th birthday, celebrated the day before, on October 7.

The great work symbolizing the annexation of Crimea

The statement from the Russian Antiterrorist Committee specifies that two lanes of the highway were damaged, but that the arch of the bridge was not affected. While road and rail traffic was disrupted, images taken after the blast show two lanes completely collapsed into the water, while two others appear to be slightly damaged.

The president of the Assembly of the Peninsula, Konstantinov, assured that the “damages are not serious”, but this was not enough to calm the population. On Saturday morning, long queues formed in front of gas stations on the peninsula. Some of the barges that used to be used for the slower and more expensive connection were put back into service, while the rationing of basic necessities was also announced.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was still too early to predict when the situation would return to normal. He confirmed that the Russian president had been informed and that he had asked for a commission to be created to establish the facts.

In parallel, a criminal investigation was also opened. “Investigators from the Russian Investigative Committee are establishing all the circumstances of the incident and the people involved in the crime,” the Kremlin-dependent agency wrote on its official Telegram channel.

If the trail of Ukrainian responsibility is confirmed, the damage would be a severe setback for Vladimir Putin, since the Crimean bridge, built at great expense and inaugurated in 2018, is the president’s great work, which symbolizes the annexation of the peninsula which was registered in 2014 by Russia.

Moscow had guaranteed impeccable security and had warned kyiv of massive retaliation in the event of an attack.

The Crimean Bridge is also a vital route for military operations throughout southern Ukraine, especially in the Kherson region. This area is precisely one in which kyiv is currently concentrating its efforts, after the announcement of its annexation by Moscow, along with three other regions.

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Written by Editor TLN

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