A key bridge connecting Crimea and Russia hit by a huge explosion | Ukraine | Catch My Job


A huge explosion destroyed part of the Kerch Bridge from Russia to Crimea, a hated symbol of the Kremlin’s occupation of the southern Ukrainian peninsula, one of Vladimir Putin’s prestige projects and a vital logistical link for the Russian military.

Part of a road bridge to Ukraine collapsed into the Kerch Strait after the explosion, and a fierce fire engulfed a train on a parallel rail link, creating a huge plume of black smoke. The parallel road to Russia still appeared passable in images from the blast site.

The attack, which came a day after Putin’s 70th birthday, is a major blow to Russia’s military prestige and its supply chains for the invasion and defense of Crimea.

Moscow has claimed the bridge is protected by impenetrable layers of defence, ranging from military dolphins to the latest weapons systems, but has also threatened severe retaliation if it is targeted.

Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility for the attack on the bridge, but senior officials publicly celebrated and on Saturday morning the only real question about the attack was not who ordered it, but how it was carried out.

The explosion, which witnesses said could be heard miles away, occurred around 6 a.m. Saturday as the train crossed the bridge. Soon pictures of the damage began to appear.

Russia established a commission to investigate the attack and within hours announced that three people had died and that it blamed the explosion on a truck bomb. It is added that they have identified the driver of the exploded truck as a resident of the southern Russian region of Kuban.

Bridges in Crimea and Russia caught fire after explosion – video

“According to preliminary data, three people died in the incident. “These are probably the passengers of the car that was next to the blown-up truck,” the Russian Investigative Committee said in a statement.

“Presently, the bodies of the two dead men and women have already been lifted from the water; their identities are established”.

Footage released on Russian Telegram channels and news agencies appeared to show the moment of the explosion with two vehicles, a truck and a car, at the center of the blast, although it was unclear whether it was responsible or was simply caught in the detonation.

The bridge, which was built on Putin’s orders and inaugurated in 2018, was a key transport link for transferring military equipment to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine, particularly in the south, as well as transporting troops there.

A map

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, suggested Kiev’s responsibility, tweeting: “Crimea, the bridge, the beginning. Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything belonging to the Russian occupation must be expelled.

Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council chairman Olesky Danilov tweeted a video of the bridge damage, juxtaposed with footage of Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President,” in a barely-disguised dig at Putin.

The bridge blast came amid growing criticism of Russia over its handling of its war against Ukraine after a series of increasingly devastating battlefield setbacks in recent weeks.

In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, there were reports of Crimean residents rushing to gas stations, worried about fuel shortages.

Kerch Bridge Explosion: CCTV footage appears to show moment of explosion – video

Damage to part of the bridge showed that one lane appeared to have been cleanly cut with no obvious signs of a missile strike, leading some to suggest that the attack on the bridge may have been a spectacular act of sabotage. The second carriageway appeared to be still standing and passable.

A video posted on Russian Telegram channels appeared to show a truck at the center of the blast, but it was unclear whether the truck itself exploded or was caught in the blast.

Damage to the railway line leaves Russian forces in the south with one rail supply line – between Krasnodar and Melitopol – now within range of Ukrainian artillery strikes.

An official in Crimea appointed by Moscow said it would not affect shipping: “A tank car is burning with fuel on one of the bridge sections. Shipping ports are not affected. It is too early to talk about reasons and consequences. Work is underway to put out the fire.”

However, videos taken from the track appear to show the fire burning fiercely in several rail trucks along the length of the train, while the train was stopped on the bridge.

Commenting on the string attack on Twitter, analyst and retired Australian general Mick Ryan said: “First lowering of a bridge span like this would require a lot of ‘bang’ [explosives] and good demolition design. As a sapper, we are constantly planning for things like this. The bridges that are the most difficult to lower are reinforced concrete.

“The amount of explosives required would be more than a few members of the SF could carry. A few trucks, or missiles/bombs would do the trick, if aimed at the right points of the bridge span.

“In any case, it represents a significant problem for the Russians.” It does not stop the supply of Crimea [there are boats and the route through Melitopol]but that makes holding Melitopol even more important for the Russians.

It is too early to determine the manner of the attack and the extent of the implications of this attack on the Kerch bridge. It’s certainly a slap in the face for Putin on his birthday. However, a few thoughts in this short (for me) thread. 1/9 🧵 https://t.co/h8C45CVI2K

— Mick Ryan, AM (@VarintheFuture) October 8, 2022

The railway span is part of a pair of parallel bridges, crossing the Kerch Strait connecting Krasnodar in Russia and Crimea, built by Russia following its 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea.

About 12 miles (19 km) long, the road bridge was opened by Putin in 2018, and the rail bridge opened two years later.

For months, Russia assumed that Crimea – including the Kerch Bridge – was beyond the reach of Ukrainian forces to strike. However, in the past two months, a series of explosions have hit sites in Crimea, including the Saki naval air base, amid growing confidence in Kiev that it can retake Crimea.

The fire broke out hours after explosions rocked the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Saturday morning, sending large plumes of smoke into the sky and triggering a series of secondary explosions.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said in Telegram that the early morning explosions were the result of rocket attacks in the city center. He said that the explosions caused a fire in one of the city’s health facilities and a non-residential building. There are currently no reports of casualties.


Source link