A Crimea bridge crucial for Russia’s military supply was damaged by a huge explosion on Saturday morning.
Footage shared on Russian Telegram channels and news agencies appeared to show the moment of the explosion on Kerch Bridge, also called the Crimean Bridge or Kerch Strait Bridge. As a large fire broke out, a section of the road collapsed.
Two vehicles, a truck and a car, appear to be at the center of the blast although it was unclear whether either was responsible or simply caught up in the detonation.
Seven fuel cars of a passing railway train also ignited, causing an extensive fire on the parallel rail bridge, and two half-sections of the road bridge collapsed as a result. Several spans of the roadway were destroyed, and road and rail traffic was stopped.
Russian state media said the fire was caused by a truck explosion.
According to CNN, at least three people were killed by the blast.
By order of Putin, a special commission was appointed to investigate the circumstances of the explosion.
Crimea’s Kerch Bridge Strategy for Russia
The nineteen-kilometer bridge across the Kerch Strait is the only bridge directly linking Crimea to Russia, which makes it a route of strategic importance for the Russian military in terms of moving military equipment into Ukraine during the invasion.
Ukraine has not directly claimed responsibility for the blast.
In the past, Ukrainian officials and the military had repeatedly declared their intention to destroy Kerch Bridge, considering it a legitimate military target.
In the aftermath of Saturday’s explosion, the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine tweeted: “The guided missile cruiser Moskva and the Kerch Bridge—two notorious symbols of Russian power in Ukrainian Crimea—have gone down. What’s next in line, Russkies?”
The guided missile cruiser Moskva and the Kerch Bridge – two notorious symbols of russian power in Ukrainian Crimea – have gone down.
What’s next in line, russkies?
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) October 8, 2022
An adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, Mikhail Podolyak, also reacted to the blast on Twitter, enigmatically calling it a “beginning.”
“Crimea, the bridge, the beginning. Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything Russian occupation must be expelled,” he posted.
Crimea, the bridge, the beginning. Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled. pic.twitter.com/yUiSwOLlDP
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) October 8, 2022
Seen as a symbol of the Kremlin’s occupation of the southern Ukrainian peninsula, Kerch Bridge was built in 2018, four years after the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia.
Last week, a decree was signed on the annexation of four Ukrainian regions by Russia after which Russia continued to threaten Ukraine with nuclear weapons in the event of an attack on objects in the annexed territories.