The Russian effort to connect the Crimean Peninsula with mainland Russia suffered a blow Tuesday after an explosion crippled the bridge linking the two areas, according to news reports and government officials.
Sergei Aksyonov, the leader of Crimea, said that an explosion blew off one of the pylons holding up the main cable span of the Crimean Bridge, which connects southern Russia to Crimea across the Kerch Strait.
The authorities have yet to determine what caused the blast, but officials blamed either an accident or sabotage for it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin Confirms Terrorist Attack on New Crimean Bridge
An explosion has crippled the Crimean bridge connecting Crimea with mainland Russia. Authorities say that the blast was caused by an explosive device placed under one of the bridge supports.
A law enforcement source reported that the explosion was so powerful that it left a hole about 1 meter in diameter and 3 meters deep in the ground.
The blast led to significant delays to traffic on both sides of the Kerch Strait and resulted in at least four people being hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
A massive blast in the Crimean region of Russia has crippled the construction site of the Crimean Bridge, which is an important link between Crimea and mainland Russia. The blast happened on Thursday evening near the village of Kerch, where many workers were present at the time.
Initial reports from sources in Crimea say that some kind of explosion caused it. However, there have been no statements from Russian authorities about what may have caused this incident so far.
A piece of gas pipeline exploded due to damage from an unknown source, according to state-run Russian television channel Vesti 24’s report. That report also says that more than 200 people have been evacuated as a result and plans are underway to investigate what may have happened at the construction site.
Who Could Be Behind the Attack?
The Crimean Bridge was intended to provide a quick and easy connection between the Russian mainland and Crimea. It was also supposed to be one of the most expensive engineering projects in Russian history. So who could have been behind this attack?
The Ukrainian government has blamed Russia for the blast, which it says is an attempt to undermine its sovereignty over Crimea. Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it condemns any terroristic acts on civilians and infrastructure violating all international agreements and norms. The ministry called on the international community to immediately condemn this terrorist act.
Russia has not yet commented on the blast. However, Moscow denies Ukrainian accusations that it orchestrated the Crimean Bridge explosion.
How Will This Affect Russia’s Efforts in Syria?
The Crimean Bridge is an important transportation link between Crimea and the rest of Russia. It was built to facilitate trade and travel between mainland Russia and the Crimean peninsula. Today it was crippled by an explosion, which has left traffic on the bridge cut off from both sides.
The blast is most likely linked to the ongoing Ukrainian conflict that has been going on since 2014. Ukraine’s government has been at war with Russian-backed rebels in its eastern territories ever since Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea in March 2014.
There are no indications as to who may have been behind this attack but this is yet another reminder that Russia’s involvement in Syria will not be easy or cheap to maintain given that they are already struggling to keep up with the costs of their military operations in Ukraine.
What is the Implication for U.S.-Russia Ties?
The implication of this latest attack on the Crimean Bridge is threefold. First, it will result in economic setbacks for Russia.
Second, the United States might be able to bring Russia to the negotiating table and end the war in Ukraine. Third, Russia might not have enough resources to sustain this conflict.
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
At the time of this writing, it is unknown who was responsible for the explosion on the Crimean Bridge. However, there is no denying that this is a major blow to Vladimir Putin’s military campaign in Ukraine.
The bridge was to be the lifeline between Russia and Crimea. Not only will it take months or even years to repair the damage done to the bridge but it will also make supply lines more difficult because of other Ukrainian forces attacking Russian troops and transports.
The attack on the Crimean Bridge may have been planned as an act of sabotage against Russia or as retaliation against the invasion of Ukraine. In either case, there are things that could have been done differently that would have prevented such an incident from happening.
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