Key Bridge Spanning Russia, Crimea Blown Up In Likely Suicide Bombing On Putin’s Birthday

Key Bridge Spanning Russia, Crimea Blown Up In Likely Suicide Bombing On Putin’s Birthday

A key bridge connecting Crimea to mainland Russia was badly damaged in a huge explosion early Saturday, according to Russian media and social media video.

The Kerch bridge, which joins the annexed Russian peninsula to Russia, is Europe’s longest bridge. Reports said an explosion ignited fuel tanks on the strategically important bridge, and social media images showed the tanker in flames and part of the roadway had fallen into the Sea of Azov. Reports on social media claimed the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber in a truck, but that could not be confirmed.

“Whether it was an ATACMS strike, or explosive sabotage to the train, the destruction of the Kerch Bridge is going to have massive implications for Russian logistics,” wrote Canadian security expert Colby Badhwar. “There is now only one railway supplying Russian forces in the west, and it’s just 34km from Ukrainian lines.”

Ukraine has just admitted to blowing up the Kerch bridge which connects the Crimea to Russia.

Zelensky’s advisor Podolyak has said the explosion is just “the beginning”.pic.twitter.com/x8MKZsnwrU

— Lewis Brackpool (@Lewis_Brackpool) October 8, 2022

The 11-mile-long bridge, which carries cars and trains, is crucial to Russia because it is the only link between the peninsula, which is practically an island, and Russia’s Krasnodar region directly to the east. Without it, Russia could be hard-pressed to defend the prized territory which it reclaimed in 2014.

The Russian National Anti-Terrorism Committee said on social media that the blast occurred at 6:07 a.m. local time in a freight truck, and caused seven rail fuel tankers to ignite.

The explosion, which came on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 70th birthday, is a logistical and public relations embarrassment for Russia in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which began in February.

“Happy birthday, Mr President,” Oleksiy Danilov, chief of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, tweeted along with video of the burning bridge and a clip of Marilyn Monroe’s famous birthday serenading of President Kennedy.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, tweeted that the explosion was just “the beginning” but stopped short of claiming credit on behalf of Ukrainian forces.

“Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything that is stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled,” he wrote.

Putin ordered a state commission to investigate the incident, TASS news agency reported.

“Ukrainian vandals managed to reach for the Crimean bridge with their bloody hands,” Vladimir Konstantinov, chairman of the Crimean Republic’s State Council, told Interfax.

“They now have something to be proud of,” he said. “In their 23 years of economic activity they failed to build anything worthy of attention in Crimea, but (now) they have managed to damage the roadway of the Russian bridge.”

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