Russian bridge to Crimea partially destroyed by explosion – POLITICO

Russian bridge to Crimea partially destroyed by explosion – POLITICO

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KYIV — The Kerch Bridge in Crimea, crucial for Russian military operations in southern Ukraine, was partially destroyed by an explosion on Saturday morning.

Two spans of the road part of the bridge collapsed following “an accident”, according to Sergei Aksyonov, the head of the administration of Crimea installed in Russia.

“The fuel tanks also caught fire”, Aksyonov said in a social media post, without giving details about the nature of the accident.

Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee said a truck exploded on the bridge, according to Russian media. Following the explosion, “a partial collapse” of two spans occurred, he added.

“As soon as the fire is extinguished, it will be possible to assess the damage to the bridge and the pillars, and it will be possible to talk about the timing of the restoration of traffic,” Aksyonov said.

According to videos and photos released on Saturday morning by eyewitnesses, several fuel tanks were on fire on the railway part of the bridge, while at least one road span had partially collapsed in the waters of the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov.

The Kerch Bridge, which connects Crimea to Russian territory, was inaugurated with great fanfare personally by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018, after Moscow seized the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Construction of the bridge was called illegal at the time by Kyiv and its Western backers.

Since the start of the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine in late February, the bridge has been critically important for the transfer of manpower, weapons and fuel to Russian units fighting Ukrainian troops in the south from Ukraine.

According to Aksyonov, the ferry service will start operating on Saturday in place of the damaged bridge.

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