Crimea bridge, crucial to Russia's war, resumes traffic after blast - GulfToday

Crimea bridge, crucial to Russia's war, resumes traffic after blast


A helicopter drops water to douse a fire on the Crimean bridge in Kerch on Saturday. AP

Traffic resumed Saturday over a key bridge linking Russia with Crimea — seen as a symbol of the Kremlin's annexation of the peninsula — after it was partially destroyed by an explosion Moscow blamed on a truck bomb.

The Kremlin announced on the same day the appointment of a new general to lead its Ukraine offensive following a series of battlefield setbacks that triggered unprecedented criticism of its army at home.


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Truck blast behind Crimea bridge damage, says Russia

The 19-kilometre (12-mile) bridge was hit by a blast around dawn on Saturday, killing three people, setting several oil tankers ablaze and collapsing two car lanes, Russian investigators said.

The explosion drew celebrations from Ukrainians and others on social media, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made no direct mention of it in his nightly address and officials made no claim of responsibility.

Cars drive on the Crimean bridge connecting Russia and Crimean peninsula at the Kerch Strait on Saturday. AP

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin told reporters "traffic has been fully restored" on the bridge's railway, according to state news agency Ria Novosti, without specifying when operations resumed.

Khusnullin had confirmed the resumption is for "both freight and passenger traffic" in an earlier post on Telegram, and said one of the destroyed lanes would be restored "in the near future".

Local officials had said earlier in the day that the bridge had been reopened to motor traffic with vehicles subject to stringent screening, while rail operator Grand Service Express said the first trains had left the peninsula for Moscow and St Petersburg.

Dramatic social media footage posted less than 24 hours before Moscow's statements showed the bridge on fire with parts plunging into the water.

Following the blast, the bodies of an unidentified man and a woman were pulled out of the water, likely passengers in a car driving near the exploded truck, Moscow said.

Authorities had identified the owner of the truck as a resident of Russia's southern Krasnodar region, saying his home was being searched.

Agence France-Presse



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