A fuel tank exploded early Saturday morning on Europe’s longest bridge connecting Russia with the annexed Crimea region, according to Russian state media RIA and social media footage.
Images of the Kerch bridge posted on social media showed a section of the vehicle’s roadway and the railway bridge falling into the water below. Flames can be seen shooting from the train carriages above.
The tanker was located on the 19-kilometer (11 mi) long bridge – which connects Russia’s Krasnodar region with Russia’s Crimean peninsula.
The bridge spans the Kerch Strait that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.
The source of the explosion is still unclear.
In an interview in August, a senior Ukrainian military commander said the Kerch bridge was a legitimate target.
“This is a necessary step to deprive them (Russia) of the opportunity to provide reserves and reinforce their troops from Russian territory,” Major General Dmytro Marchenko told RBC-Ukraine in an interview.
“Firefighting is underway,” an adviser to Oleg Kryunchkov, the head of the Russian administration in occupied Crimea, said in a Telegram post, adding that the bridge’s “ship arches were not damaged.”
The Kerch Bridge It can handle 40,000 cars a day and move 14 million passengers and 13 million tons of cargo a year, state news agency RIA Novosti reported when the bridge opened in 2018.
After the bridge opened, the United States condemned its construction as illegal.
“Russia’s bridge construction is a reminder of Russia’s willingness to violate international law,” the US State Department statement said.
“This bridge not only confirms Russia’s illegal seizure and occupation of Crimea, but also impedes navigation by limiting the amount of ships that can cross the Kerch Strait, the only way to reach Ukraine’s maritime border. Azov.”
This is a growing story. More to follow.
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