An armed ship sails across the Kerch Strait, Crimea, next to the Crimean Bridge, which connects the peninsula to the Russian mainland, on July 17, 2023.
The Crimean Bridge, the only link between the annexed peninsula and Russia, has been damaged along its length, Russia’s transport ministry said on Monday, with several Telegram channels announcing strikes on the bridge and local officials confirmed at least two deaths.
“There has been damage to the road in the span of the Crimean bridge,” the transport ministry said in a telegram.
The spans in a bridge are the spans between the support piers.
Last October, the bridge was partially damaged in a massive blast, with parts of it collapsing.
Sergey Aksenov, the Russian-appointed head of Crimea, said an “emergency incident” had been reported, stopping traffic on the bridge, which serves as a key logistical hub for Moscow’s military in its war against Ukraine.
According to Gray Zone, a Telegram channel supporting the Wagner mercenary group led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, two strikes were carried out on the bridge around 3 a.m. local time, damaging part of the bridge.
The explosion was heard between 3:04 am and 3:20 am local time, Gray Zone and popular Crimean blogger ‘TalipoV Online Z’ reported on Telegram.
CNN could not verify the reports.
Check out this interactive content on CNN.com
Videos posted on Telegram by Baza, Gray Zone and other Crimean news outlets show part of the bridge collapsed and a vehicle damaged in the latest incident.
The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Kladkov, confirmed that two people were killed and a third injured in the incident.
Kladkov said a girl who was a passenger in the damaged car was injured and her parents were killed.
Emergency responders and law enforcement units have been sent to the scene, Crimean President Aksenov said. The Ministry of Transport said that inspection of the bridge is underway.
Aksenov urged residents and those traveling to and from Crimea to choose an alternative land route.
The nearly 12-mile bridge, also known as the Kerch Bridge, is the longest in Europe and carries both road and rail traffic.
There was a bridge Severely damaged on 8 October When a fuel tanker exploded and destroyed a large part of the road.
03:23 – Source: CNN
Surveillance footage captured a major explosion on the main bridge to Russia-linked Crimea
It is of great strategic and symbolic importance to Russia, which built the 19-kilometer bridge at a cost of about $3.7 billion after Moscow illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014. Always tie it to Russia.
It is an important artery for the daily needs of the Crimea and supplies for the army, fuel and supplies for the civilian population.
Elena Eleksyan, a Russian-backed official on the peninsula, said Crimea was well supplied with fuel, food and industrial goods.
After the October 8 bombing, Russia quickly repaired the SPAN. Fully opened to traffic in February.
Earlier this month, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, Hanna Malier, appeared to more clearly admit that Ukrainian forces were responsible for the October attack.
A Ukrainian official said on Monday that damaging the bridge would disrupt Russian logistics.
“Any logistical problems are additional problems for the aggressors, creating potential advantages for the Ukrainian security forces,” Andrii Yusov, a representative of Ukraine’s defense intelligence, told Ukraine’s public broadcaster Suspilne.
Yusov Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attack.
“As for the reasons for this (damage), we are not commenting,” he said.
This is a developing story, and more to come.