The vital bridge linking Crimea to mainland Russia came to a standstill on Monday following reports of explosions, which Crimean officials attributed to an attack by Ukraine. The health ministry in Russia’s Krasnodar region, located at the bridge’s eastern end, reported that two individuals tragically lost their lives in an unspecified accident on the bridge, while their daughter sustained injuries.
Vladimir Kostantinov, the chairman of Crimea’s parliament, blamed Ukraine’s “terrorist regime” for the alleged attack on the bridge. Although the extent of the damage remained uncertain, rail traffic resumed several hours later after an approximately six-hour suspension.
The Kerch Strait bridge, which facilitates both road and rail transportation, previously endured damage in October, resulting from a truck bomb. Subsequent repairs were conducted over several months before the bridge fully resumed its services. This critical supply artery plays a significant role in Russia’s involvement in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Eyewitnesses in the area reported hearing explosions in the early hours of Monday morning, heightening concerns about the incident. The governor of Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, announced the closure of the bridge without specifying a reason.
Video footage from the online news channel Crimea 24 showed a section of the bridge tilted and hanging, although there was no indication of any portion collapsing into the water.
Stretching over 19 kilometers (12 miles), the bridge was inaugurated in 2018 and serves as the primary land connection between Russia and the Crimean peninsula.
Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s military intelligence department, refrained from commenting on the incident directly but emphasized that the peninsula is being utilized by Russian forces as a significant logistical hub for deploying troops and assets deep into Ukrainian territory. Any disruption in logistics poses additional complications for the occupying forces, he added.