October 3, 2023

For the second time in lower than a 12 months, explosions broken a bridge linking Russia and Crimea, the southern a part of the Ukrainian peninsula illegally annexed by Moscow in 2014. As well as, it’s a fastidiously guarded infrastructure object of nice significance for Russia.

Monday’s explosions weren’t as violent as final October, when a part of a highway bridge collapsed into the water, in keeping with preliminary stories.

Here is what we all know concerning the newest assault:

Earlier than daybreak on Monday, a senior Russian official in Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, introduced on messaging app Telegram that site visitors on the Kerch Strait Bridge had been halted because of an emergency.

The Russian Anti-Terrorism Committee later mentioned the bridge was hit by two maritime drones in what seemed to be separate explosions.

Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-appointed official in southern Ukraine, wrote on Telegram that two spans of the bridge have been broken. The assault killed a pair and injured their daughter, a Russian official mentioned.

Rail site visitors over the bridge resumed on Monday morning, albeit with delays, in keeping with Russian state media. Video and photographs verified by The New York Instances present the highway broken and Russian officers have mentioned drivers ought to take various routes.

Russian officers blamed Ukraine for the bombings, and Russia’s Nationwide Anti-Terrorism Committee mentioned it was investigating them as a terrorist assault.

Ukrainian safety spokesman Artem Dekhtiarenko jubilated over the assault, with out explicitly saying it was carried out by Ukrainian forces, in keeping with Kiev’s intentionally obscure coverage on strikes towards Russian-held territory. He described the assault utilizing the time period “cotton”, which Ukrainian officers use to explain bombings in Russian-occupied territories.

“We’re watching with curiosity how one of many symbols of the Putin regime as soon as once more failed to face up to the fight load,” Dekhtyarenko mentioned in a commentary posted on the Ukrinform web site.

The Kerch Strait Bridge, opened in 2018, is an important transport route for items certain for the Crimean peninsula. It additionally takes Russian vacationers to the area’s seashores, that are hottest in the course of the summer time.

Earlier than the beginning of a full-scale invasion in February 2022, the Russian navy used the bridge to move provides to its troops within the area, together with to the naval port in Sevastopol, the place the Black Sea Fleet is predicated. Since final 12 months, the bridge has additionally been an necessary conduit for reinforcements and provides for Russian troops which have seized management of territory in southern Ukraine.

For the Kremlin, the bridge is a logo of the connection it’s attempting to forge between Crimea and Russia. Russian President Vladimir V. Putin drove a truck down its 19-kilometer size when it opened, and two months after it was broken final October, he drove over it once more, testing repairs.

The day after the bridge was broken in October final 12 months, Russia launched an air marketing campaign to cripple Ukraine’s power provide, hitting energy vegetation and different infrastructure with drones and missiles that lasted a number of months.

Ukrainians observe any assault on the bridge. However route disruptions additionally serve a navy function, hindering Russia’s efforts to resupply its forces attempting to comprise the Ukrainian counteroffensive that started final month. The bridge is taken into account a key artery for the Russian occupation forces within the Kherson, Zaporozhye and Donetsk areas in southern Ukraine.

In latest months, Ukraine has made concentrating on Russian logistics hubs a precedence of its navy technique and has used missiles provided by the USA and different allies, navy consultants say.

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