October 8, 2022 Russia-Ukraine News

In a blow to Russia, at least one explosion severely damaged the Kerch Bridge linking the annexed Crimean Peninsula to the Russian Federation.

Saturday morning’s explosion caused parts of Europe’s longest bridge to collapse, according to images and video from the scene.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear. Russian officials said a tanker exploded, but two spans of the road crossing towards Crimea appear to have collapsed. A subsequent fire engulfed a train of tankers on a separate part of the bridge.

Footage of the Kerch Bridge posted on social media appears to show that part of the roadway from the vehicle and the railway bridge had fallen into the waters below. Flames could be seen burning from the wagons above.

Three dead: The Russian Investigative Committee says preliminary information indicates three people were killed in the blast.

Why is the bridge important? The bridge spans the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea to the Sea of ​​Azov, on which the main Ukrainian ports, including Mariupol, are located. For Russia, the bridge symbolizes the physical “reunification” of Crimea with the Russian mainland. The bridge carries much of Crimea’s needs – such as fuel and supplies – and has been regularly used to supply arms and fuel to Russian forces.

The following : Main transport links between mainland Russia and the annexed Crimean peninsula – including buses and trains – have been suspended following an explosion on the Kerch Bridge. Weather conditions in the Kerch Strait are hampering Russia’s plans to use ferries to reach Crimea from Krasnodar, according to Russian state media.

What did Ukraine say? Ukrainian officials began responding to the fire without directly acknowledging that Ukraine was responsible for the explosion. Among the responses, the Ukrainian Armed Forces Navy posted on Facebook: “Air Defense of the Russian Federation, are you sleeping? alongside video showing a section of the bridge road that had been completely destroyed.

In a brief post on its official Twitter account, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense reacted to the explosion saying: “The Moskva missile cruiser and the Kerch bridge – two notorious symbols of Russian power in Ukrainian Crimea – are are collapsed. What’s the next line, Russians? »

What is Russia’s response? Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately ordered a “government commission” to examine the “urgency” of the Kerch Bridge in Crimea, Russian state media TASS reported, adding that the heads of Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations and from the Department of Transportation are now at the scene of the incident. incident.

Russian officials suggest the blast was caused by a truck exploding on the highway bridge.

Spokeswoman for the Russian investigative committee, Svetlana Petrenko, said the committee “opened a criminal case regarding the incident at the Crimean bridge. According to preliminary information, this morning a truck exploded on the part Crimean Bridge automobile from Taman Peninsula [the westbound lanes of the bridge]which caused the ignition of seven fuel tanks of a train heading for the Crimean peninsula.

“As a result, two traffic lanes of the bridge partially collapsed.”

The Committee also expanded on its earlier statement that a truck on the bridge had exploded.

According to the Russian Investigative Committee, the owner of the truck resides in Krasnodar Krai and investigative actions have been launched at his place of residence. The vehicle’s travel route and relevant documentation are under review, the committee added.

CNN is unable to verify the Russian explanation for the explosion.

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