On Saturday, October 8, at 6am, a huge explosion hit a bridge linking Russia and Crimea. So far, three people have been killed as a result of the incident, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee. Russia’s RIA state news agency said it was caused by a fuel tank on fire, however, this has been refuted by various sources. The explosion has been described as a “huge victory” for Ukraine by a defence and security analyst as the bridge was a vital supply route for Vladimir Putin’s southern army in Ukraine.
In videos of the explosion, cars and vans cross the road bridge which runs adjacent to the railway line.
As the vehicles cross, the bridge is suddenly engulfed in huge billows of smoke and flames. While the road was badly destroyed, as parts of it fell in the water below, the damage done to the railway was not as significant.
Russia claims a fuel tank caught on fire and caused the explosion, but defence and security analyst Michael Clarke has said this is “ridiculous” because a vehicle could not have done that much damage, especially as bridges are designed to withstand that sort of incident.
Instead, Mr Clarke speculated that it was either caused by a missile – heavier than that which Ukraine is supposed to have in its arsenal – or by explosives of some “magnitude” put underneath the bridge by Special Operations Forces.
He added if this was the case, it is a “huge victory” for Ukraine as it is “in the middle of an area that the Russians are guarding very carefully”.
Mr Clarke said it was as big a blow to Russia as when the Black Sea Fleet flagship sank on April 14 after it was struck by Ukrainian anti-ship missiles.
The bridge, known as the Crimean Bridge or Kerch Bridge, is made up of a parallel road and railway and was built by Putin in 2018 after the illegal annexation of Crimea.
Prior to it being built, Russia would take supplies to Crimea via a ferry which took two hours.