Early Saturday morning, a primary bridge that connected Crimea with Mainland Russia was horrendously damaged in a large explosion, as reported by Russian media and a video on social media.
Known as the Kerch Bridge, it connected the annexed peninsula to Russia and is the longest bridge in Europe. Reportedly, a large explosion set off a series of fuel tanks on the massively strategically important bridge, and photos from social media highlighted the tanker engulfed in flames and a chunk of the roadway falling out into the Sea of Azov. Reports filtering through social media stated that the explosion was the result of a suicide bomber driving a truck, but it could not be confirmed.
“Whether it was an ATACMS strike, or explosive sabotage to the train, the destruction of the Kerch Bridge is going to have massive implications for Russian logistics,” expressed Colby Badhwar, a Canadian security commentator. “There is now only one railway supplying Russian forces in the west, and it’s just 34km from Ukrainian lines.”
Ukraine has just admitted to blowing up the Kerch bridge which connects the Crimea to Russia.
Zelensky’s advisor Podolyak has said the explosion is just “the beginning”.pic.twitter.com/x8MKZsnwrU
— Lewis Brackpool (@Lewis_Brackpool) October 8, 2022
The massive 11-mile-long bridge, which is used by trains and cars alike, is strategically important to Russia because it is the only link between the peninsula, which is basically an island, and the Krasnodar region of Russia directly to the east. With the bridge damaged, Russia would have extreme trouble attempting to defend the prime territory which it claimed in 2014.
The Russian National Anti-Terrorism Committee stated via social media that the explosion took place at roughly 6:07 a.m. local time in a large truck, which sparked a chain reaction of seven rail fuel tankers igniting.
The massive blast, which took place early on the day of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 70th birthday, is a public relations and logistical embarrassment for Russia in its currently failing invasion of Ukraine, which kicked off back in February.
“Happy birthday, Mr President,” stated the chief of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, via social media alongside a video of the massive bridge engulfed in flames and a clip of the famous birthday serenade of President Kennedy by Marilyn Monroe.
Доброго ранку, Україно! 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/UQMI6LheSR
— Oleksiy Danilov (@OleksiyDanilov) October 8, 2022
One top advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mykhailo Podolyak, stated via Twitter that the blast was just “the beginning” but did not officially take credit for the event on behalf of Ukrainian forces.
“Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything that is stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled,” he stated.
Putin issued a state commission to look into the ordeal, TASS news agency reported.
“Ukrainian vandals managed to reach for the Crimean bridge with their bloody hands,” explained the chairman of the Crimean Republic’s State Council, Vladimir Konstantinov, to Interfax.
“They now have something to be proud of,” he stated. “In their 23 years of economic activity they failed to build anything worthy of attention in Crimea, but [now] they have managed to damage the roadway of the Russian bridge.”