World News

Putin accuses Ukraine of ‘terrorism’ in Crimea bridge explosion

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday accused Ukraine of committing terrorism after a truck exploded in the middle of the bridge connecting Crimea and Russia Saturday, killing three people. 

The explosion ignited seven fuel tanks of a train also traveling on the Kerch Bridge. Two of the victims, a man and a woman, were pulled from the water below, Russia said.

An explosion and a fire were reported in the middle of the Kerch Bridge on Oct. 8, 2022.

An explosion and a fire were reported in the middle of the Kerch Bridge on Oct. 8, 2022.
(REUTERS/Nasaybah Hussain)

“There’s no doubt it was a terrorist act directed at the destruction of critically important civilian infrastructure of the Russian Federation,” Putin said during a meeting with the chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin. “And the authors, perpetrators, and those who ordered it are the special services of Ukraine.”

Bastrykin said Ukrainian special services and citizens of Russia and other countries took part in the attack. He said a criminal investigation had been launched into an act of terror.

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The bridge, which Putin personally opened in May 2018 by driving a truck across it as a symbol of Moscow’s claims on Crimea, holds important strategic value to Russia in its faltering war in Ukraine.

No one has claimed responsibility for damaging the 12-mile bridge, the longest in Europe. Road and rail traffic on the bridge were temporarily halted, damaging a vital supply route for the Kremlin’s forces

In Kyiv, presidential adviser Mikhail Podolyak called Putin’s terrorist accusations “too cynical even for Russia.”

“Putin accuses Ukraine of terrorism?” he said. “It has not even been 24 hours since Russian planes fired 12 rockets into a residential area of Zaporizhzhia, killing 13 people and injuring more than 50. No, there is only one state terrorist and the whole world knows who he is.”

Russia President Vladimir Putin.

Russia President Vladimir Putin.
(Alexander Demyanchuk, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russia has suffered a series of setbacks nearly eight months after invading Ukraine in a campaign many thought would be short-lived. In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces have staged a counteroffensive, retaking areas in the south and east, while Moscow’s decision to call up more troops has led to protests and an exodus of hundreds of thousands of Russians.

Traffic over the Kerch Bridge was temporarily suspended after Saturday’s blast, but both automobiles and trains were crossing again on Sunday. Russia also restarted a car ferry service.

Crimea is a popular vacation resort for Russians and people trying to drive to the bridge and back onto the Russian mainland encountered hours-long traffic jams Sunday. 

Fox News’ Lawrence Richard and The Associated Press contributed to this report.   

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