Part of a key bridge connecting Russia and Crimea was destroyed in a suspected Ukrainian attack.
Russian authorities said a truck bomb shot down a section of the Kerch Bridge – a vital supply artery for their stalled war effort in southern Ukraine.
The speaker of Crimea’s Kremlin-backed regional parliament immediately blamed Ukraine, although Moscow did not assign blame.
Ukrainian officials have repeatedly threatened to storm the bridge, and some praised the attack, but Kyiv has come close to claiming responsibility.
The attack comes one day after Vladimir Putin’s 70th birthday.
Oleksiy Danilov, head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, posted a video of the burning bridge alongside a video of Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday, Mr President.”
Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee said the blast caused seven fuel-loaded railroad cars to ignite, leading to a “partial collapse of two sections of the bridge”.
An aide to the President of Ukraine tweeted that the incident was only “the beginning”.
Mykhailo Podolyak did not say that Ukrainian forces were responsible for the blast, but wrote: “Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be brought back to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled.” “
The Crimean peninsula has symbolic value for Russia and is key to sustaining its military operations in the south.
If the bridge is rendered inoperable, it would make hauling supplies to the headland significantly more difficult.
While Russia captured the areas north of Crimea early in the invasion and built a land corridor there along the Sea of Azov, Ukraine is pushing for a counteroffensive to retake them.
The Russian National Anti-Terrorism Committee said two sections of the road bridge had partially collapsed but that the arch over the Kerch Strait, the waterway through which ships sail between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, was not damaged.
Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian governor of Crimea, said on social media that the road bridge in one direction was still intact, although traffic was halted while the damage was assessed.
Images showed thick smoke pouring from part of the structure.
Putin has instructed the government to set up a state commission to investigate the incident, the TASS news agency reported, citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Interfax quoted the head of the State Council of the Crimean Republic, Vladimir Konstantinov, as saying: “Ukrainian vandals managed to grab the Crimean bridge with their bloodied hands.”
“They now have something to be proud of,” he said.
“In their 23 years of economic activity they have not built anything remarkable in Crimea, but (now) they managed to damage the roadway of the Russian bridge.”
Konstantinov said the damage was “not serious” and would be repaired quickly.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/10/08/bridge-linking-russia-with-crimea-damaged-in-suspected-ukraine-strike-17527441/ Bridge linking Russia to Crimea damaged in suspected Ukrainian attack