Damage From Blast on Crimean Bridge May Have 'Profound Effect'

No responsibility yet claimed, but damage may cause big roadblock on Russian supplies for war
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2022 8:30 AM CDT
Sole Bridge to Crimea From Russia Damaged in Explosion
A helicopter drops water to stop the fire on the Crimean Bridge connecting the Russian mainland and Crimean Peninsula over the Kerch Strait, in Kerch on Saturday.   (AP Photo)

The only bridge connecting the Crimean Peninsula to the Russian mainland appeared to have been badly damaged Saturday after an apparent truck explosion. The New York Times reports the blast on the 12-mile bridge over the Kerch Strait caused a fire and the collapse of part of the bridge into the sea, and (unverified) footage circulating online shows the aftermath. The paper notes that the resulting damage "could have a profound effect on Russia's ability to wage war in southern Ukraine." According to Russian investigators, three people were killed during the blast, which Reuters notes may have been occupants of a car near the truck when it exploded.

Other video online, also unconfirmed, appears to show the moment of the explosion, which doesn't seem to be viewed as an accident by either Russian or Ukrainian officials, though no one has yet taken responsibility. In a statement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the incident an "emergency" and said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been briefed, per the Times. Reuters notes that an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that the explosion was just "the beginning," though he didn't cop to Ukrainian forces as the ones who'd caused it. Vladimir Konstantinov, chief of Crimea's Kremlin-installed parliament, was more direct in his assessment.

"Ukrainian vandals were able to reach the Crimean bridge with their bloody hands," he said, per the Times. The bridge not only was a vital thoroughfare that Russia used to transport supplies for its war in Ukraine—it was also symbolically important to Putin, who drove a truck across it when it opened in 2018. The BBC notes that Ukrainian politicians and activists are celebrating the explosion, which came the day after Putin's 70th birthday. Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine's National Security Council, tweeted a photo of the burning bridge, next to a video of Marilyn Monroe singing her famous "happy birthday" song to JFK in 1962. "Good morning, Ukraine!" he wrote. (More Crimea stories.)

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