A huge explosion strikes a crucial bridge connecting Crimea to Russia.
Images from the Kerch bridge, a crucial supply route for Russian soldiers opened by Vladimir Putin in 2018, show burnt train cars and collapsed road sections.
An enormous explosion has struck the Kerch bridge, which connects Russia and Crimea. The Kerch bridge is a despised representation of the Kremlin’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula and one of Vladimir Putin’s vanity initiatives.
Pictures from the bridge showed at least two train cars being engulfed by a furiously blazing fire, which was accompanied by a massive column of black smoke. One side of the parallel road bridge also fell into the Kerch Strait.
The explosion occurred on Saturday just before 6 a.m. while a train was crossing the bridge; witnesses claimed they could hear it from miles away.
It was not instantly evident what triggered it, but Mykhailo Podolyak, a presidential adviser for Ukraine, seemed to point the finger at Kyiv in a tweet that read: “Crimea, the bridge, the beginning. Everything unlawful must be destroyed, everything that has been stolen must be given back to Ukraine, and everyone who is a part of the Russian occupation must be driven out.
Some have speculated that the attack on the bridge may have been a spectacular act of sabotage because damage to the road part of the bridge appeared to have been cleanly destroyed with no clear indication of a missile hit in the initial photographs to emerge.
The bridge serves as an essential logistical supply route for Russian forces in the Crimea and the southern regions of Ukraine that Russia has invaded. It is also extremely symbolic for Russia. Russian troops in the south now only have one railway supply route between Krasnodar and Melitopol, and that line is also vulnerable to Ukrainian attacks because of the damage to the railway line.
The explosion on the bridge happened the day after Putin celebrated his 70th birthday and as criticism of Putin’s handling of the war against Ukraine in Russia has grown in recent weeks due to a string of increasingly severe failures on the front.
Immediately following the incident, stories of Crimean locals racing to gas stations out of concern for gasoline shortages surfaced.
The news agency Tass reported that a fuel tanker was involved, but official Russian sources, as in past attacks in Crimea, were evasive about the cause of the explosion. Preliminary information indicates that a gasoline tank [railroad] car caught fire at one of the sections of the Crimean bridge; nevertheless, the shipping arches were unharmed, according to Oleg Kryuchkov, a counselor to the Russian occupation leader in charge of the Crimea.
“A cistern carriage is burning with fuel on one of the bridge sections,” a different official designated by Moscow said. No changes are made to shipping arches. It’s too early to discuss causes and effects. The fire is being put out by workers.
Video captured from the road crossing appeared to show many railway trucks down the length of the train with fires blazing intensely while the train was stopped on the bridge.
A purposeful attack using high explosives also appeared to strongly suggest itself from purported video footage taken at the time of the explosion.