Ukraine appeared to have attacked the Kerch Strait Bridge linking the occupied Crimean Peninsula to mainland Russia early Monday, forcing its closure.
Sergei Aksyonov, the Kremlin-installed head of Crimea, stated that each one highway and rail site visitors had been stopped on the bridge due to an unspecified “emergency,” however Russian navy bloggers reported that Ukraine had attacked the landmark crossing.
A father and mom from the Belgorod area have been killed in the incident, and their daughter was injured, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod area, was quoted as saying by Zvezda News, the tv channel of the Russian Ministry of Defense. There was injury to the roadway main from Crimea, however the complete construction continues to be being inspected, the Russian Ministry of Transport stated in a short statement on its Telegram channel.
The incident comes somewhat greater than 9 months after an Oct. 8 assault on the bridge, when an explosives-laden truck erupted, forcing the closure of 1 lane of site visitors and damaging the railroad tracks. Three folks died in that assault.
The 12-mile bridge, accomplished in 2018 and regarded an engineering feat, was absolutely reopened to vehicular site visitors in February. Railroad site visitors resumed usually in May.
The bridge is a serious route used to produce Russian troops in Ukraine, in addition to the Black Sea fleet, headquartered in the storied Crimean port of Sevastopol. Disrupting site visitors on the bridge forces Russia to produce its troops in Crimea and southern Ukraine by way of land routes throughout southern Ukraine that may be uncovered to Ukrainian shelling.
The closure additionally comes through the height of the summer time journey season, when Crimea is a well-liked vacation spot for Russian vacationers on the lookout for a discount seaside vacation spot. Crimean officers asked vacationers to remain in their motels due the state of affairs. Videos on social media confirmed site visitors backing up on the roads resulting in the bridge.
Mr. Aksyonov, writing on his Telegram channel concerning the state of affairs, asked each residents and company to keep away from utilizing the bridge and to make use of the “alternative overland route through the new regions,” which means the areas of southern Ukraine occupied by Russia throughout its invasion. Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014.
Railroad site visitors ought to resume by 9 a.m. on Monday, Mr. Aksyonov stated.
He and different officers urged folks in Crimea to not panic, with some officers saying that there was sufficient food and gasoline saved on the peninsula to produce the civilian inhabitants whereas the bridge was closed.
Milana Mazaeva contributed reporting.