“Today at 06:07 on the road section of the bridge of Crimea (…) there was the explosion of a car bomb, which set fire to seven railway tanks that were going to Crimea,” the commission said, quoted by the Russian authorities. Russia opened a criminal investigation into the explosion on Saturday. “According to preliminary data, three people have died as a result of the accident. They are likely the passengers of a car that was near the truck when it exploded,” the Russian Commission of Inquiry said in a statement.
The Kremlin spokesman told the agency Ria Novosti that Vladimir Putin had ordered the formation of a government commission to establish the facts. According to the Anti-Terrorism Committee, two lanes have been damaged, but the arch of the bridge has not been affected. The head of the assembly of Crimea, the regional parliament installed by Russia, Vladimir Konstantinov denounced a coup d’état by “Ukrainian vandals”.
If Ukraine is the cause of the fire and explosion on the Crimean Bridge, it would be a blow to Russia that such critical infrastructure could be damaged by Ukrainian forces so far from the front. Russia has suffered a series of military setbacks since the beginning of September, forcing its troops to withdraw in both the northeast and south of the country, particularly in the region of Khersonbordering Crimea, and whose annexation Putin claims.
Rail traffic has finally resumed on the Crimean Bridge connecting Russia to this annexed peninsula, a Russian operator announced shortly after the resumption of car traffic. According to the company Grand Service Express, which operates connections between Crimea and Russia, two trains left the peninsula in the early evening to reach Moscow and Saint Petersburg. “The trains will go over the Crimean Bridge,” the company said on Telegram.
Kerch Straat Street
The fire on the massive road and rail bridge connecting Russian-annexed Ukrainian Crimea to Russian territory has brought rail and road traffic to a standstill. However, it is essential for the transport of people and goods to the peninsula, as well as for the troops deployed in Ukraine. The bridge spanning the Kerch Strait, inaugurated in 2018, became the symbol of the 2014 annexation.
Russia has always maintained that the bridge poses no risk despite the fighting in Ukraine, but it has threatened Kiev with reprisals if Ukrainian forces attack this infrastructure or other infrastructure. Crimea. In recent months, several explosions have taken place at Russian military installations on the peninsula, likely the result of Ukrainian military operations, such as when the Djankoi military base was destroyed in August by the explosion of an ammunition depot, forcing tourists from the region.
The Russian authorities have always been very sparing in explaining Djankoy and other similar incidents at weapons depots elsewhere in Russia, but close to the Ukrainian border. At Djankoi, Russia had finally acknowledged that it was “sabotage” and weeks later the Russian army had acknowledged its responsibility.