Crimean bridge explosion kills three as Zelensky aide warns blast 'is the start'

Part of the main route collapsed after a huge explosion that Russia claimed was caused by a truck. Three people died in a massive explosion on a key bridge linking Russia and Crimea, Russia said. The explosion occurred when a truck exploded on the road bridge at 6:07 a.m. on Saturday, according to the Moscow investigative committee, and set seven fuel tanker cars on fire in a passing train upstairs.

At least three sections of the road collapsed into the water below after the explosion, the route the ship traveled between the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov. Kyiv officials said the blast was "just the beginning" but did not claim responsibility for the blast, while Moscow has not officially blamed it.

"Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled," Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky, tweeted after the blast. Echoing the tone of Russia paying the price for its sins, David Arakhamia, leader of Volodymyr Zelensky's party, said the explosion was a consequence of Moscow's takeover of Crimea.

He wrote on Telegram: “Russia's illegal construction is starting to fall apart and burn. The reason is simple: if you build something explosive, then sooner or later it will explode.”

Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and the 12-mile bridge connecting it to Russia's transport network was grandly opened four years later by Putin himself. It is now a major supply route for Russian troops who have seized large swathes of Kherson in southern Ukraine, and for the naval port of Sevastopol, whose governor told locals: “Keep calm. Don't panic." It's not clear if the explosion was a deliberate attack or an accident, but the damage to high-level infrastructure comes at a time when Russia has already suffered several defeats on the battlefield and could further cloud the Kremlin's messages of assurance to the wider Russian public. that conflict will be planned.

Taking place a day after Putin's 70th birthday, the head of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, posted a video of the burning bridge on social media alongside a video of Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy birthday, Mr President". Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Kyiv's reaction to the destruction of civilian infrastructure "proves its terrorist nature".

Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-appointed deputy administrator of the Kherson region, said the bridge incident "will not affect the supply of troops much". "But there will be problems with logistics for Crimea," he added in a post on social media.

Mykola Bielieskov of the Ukrainian Institute of Strategic Studies, who is an adviser to the presidency in Kyiv, said the Kerch bridge was irreplaceable by the invading Russian forces, and if it were to be severed, “the entire southern front of Russia would collapse quickly and easily”. In a video message, Aksyonov, the governor of Crimea, said he wanted to “ensure Crimea that the Republic of Crimea is fully provided with fuel and food. We have more than a month of fuel, and more than two months of food.”

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