Crimea Bridge: Russia Ramps Up Security After The Blast

Russia beefed up security at its only bridge to Crimea after a massive explosion on Saturday. President Vladimir Putin has now ordered the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to monitor the key link on the occupied peninsula. The bridge is also a key symbol of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Russian investigators say three people were killed in the explosion. Crimea bridge: Russia ramps up security after the blast

The officials said that the repair work of the damaged parts will be started soon. Russia’s deputy prime minister ordered the immediate removal of the destroyed parts of the bridge and divers will begin investigating the damage below the waterway on Sunday morning, Russian news agencies reported.

Crimea Bridge

Hailed by Russian media as the “construction of the century”, the bridge was crucial for Russia to move military equipment, ammunition and troops into southern Ukraine.

But new satellite images released on Saturday showed smoke and fire near collapsed areas of the 19km (12-mile) bridge, which opened with much fanfare four years after Moscow annexed Crimea. Because it plays a strategic role in the war, Ukrainian authorities have said it is a legitimate target as they vow to retake the peninsula.

Ukrainian officials responded with a thinly veiled approval of the blast, but did not indicate that their forces were behind the attack. President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged the incident in his late-night address on Saturday: “Today was not a bad day and it was mostly a sunny day in our state.”

“Unfortunately, it was cloudy in Crimea. Although it was warm,” he added.

Russian authorities moved quickly to reopen those parts of the key link still intact and said late Saturday that the bridge had partially reopened to road and rail traffic. It is an important artery in Moscow’s supply chain to the battlefront in its invasion of Ukraine – and to annexed Crimea itself.

Sergei Aksyonov, the Moscow-appointed governor of Crimea, said there was a desire for revenge but assured the peninsula still had a month’s worth of fuel and more than two months’ worth of food.

“The condition is manageable – it’s unpleasant, but not fatal,” he said.

“Russian illegal constructions are collapsing and starting to catch fire,” said Ukrainian official David Arakamia, the parliamentary head of Mr. Zelensky’s party.

“The reason is simple: if you build something explosive, sooner or later it will explode.”

A Ukrainian MP told the BBC that whoever was responsible for the attack, this was a “huge victory for Ukraine and a very heavy and difficult loss for Russia”.

“The bridge is not destroyed, but damaged, but Putin’s image is destroyed, that’s the most important thing,” Oleksiy Goncharenko said.

A Russian national anti-terrorist committee said a truck bomb had damaged and set fire to seven train carriages. It added that a man’s home in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia is being investigated.

Ukraine has not linked its armed forces to the blast, which has targeted Crimea in the past. Last month, Ukraine claimed responsibility for a series of airstrikes in Crimea – including an attack on Russia’s Saky military base.

Ukraine’s social media erupted in celebration after Saturday’s bridge attack. Its second-largest bank says it has already rolled out a new debit card plan that includes the collapsed bridge. In recent weeks, forces in Kyiv have retaken significant swaths of territory seized by Russia before the war.

Hours after the bridge explosion, Russia appointed a new commander to lead its forces in Ukraine. Sergei Surovykin is a veteran commander known for leading Russian forces in Syria and was accused of overseeing the destruction of Aleppo.

Russia still controls Ukraine’s fast-track zone, Europe’s largest – including the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has lost all external power and relies on emergency diesel generators for power to cool reactors, according to the UN nuclear watchdog.

And the nearby city of Zaporizhzhia, in Ukraine’s south-east, saw overnight shelling which killed at least 17 people, according to a local official on Telegram. Buildings and apartment blocks have been damaged in the missile attacks, said Anatoliy Kurtev, the city’s secretary of administration. Unverified posts on social media also appeared to show apartment blocks in flames.

Crimea Bridge

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