Several explosions rocked the Crimea Bridge overnight, as Russian online news outlets were the first to report.
Governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, reported the death of a man and woman who were driving across the bridge in a car with Belgorod licence plates when the attack occurred. Their underage daughter suffered moderate injuries and was taken to hospital. The Krasnodar regional health department later confirmed this information.
Baza writes that the family was going to the annexed Crimea from the city of Stary Oskol.
Russia’s National Antiterrorism Committee stated it has opened a criminal case, calling the explosion a terrorist attack and adding that it was “carried out at 3.05 am by two Ukrainian unmanned surface vehicles”.
The blast also damaged the roadway on the Crimean side, leading to massive traffic jams at the entry to the bridge and the cancellation of bus routes. The railway part of the bridge resumed operating by 9 am, Interfax reports. Oleg Kryuchkov, advisor to the head of the annexed peninsula, said that bus passengers will be taken across the bridge by train, after which they will transfer back into buses.
Russian authorities speak of ‘emergency’
The Russia-installed Crimean governor Sergey Aksyonov wrote early Monday morning that “there had been an emergency” around the bridge’s 145th pillar.
“For safety reasons, I ask the residents and visitors of the peninsula to abstain from travelling across the Crimea Bridge and choose an alternative land route,” he added. Crimea’s ministry of tourism echoed the plea in a statement.
Governor of the Krasnodar region Veniamin Kondratyev also asked all those wishing to reach Crimea to use alternative land routes through the occupied regions of Ukraine.
Several Crimean resorts and hotels have extended the stay of their clients.
Vladimir Konstantinov, another Russia-installed official, said that the “terrorist Kyiv regime” was behind the attack.
“As for retaliation — we’ll be following the news. Our defence minister promised strikes on centres where criminal decisions are made,” he added.
A spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command, Natalia Humeniuk, told the media that the incident could be an act of provocation on Moscow’s side.
“Given the Russians’ unprecedented security measures around the bridge, they were likely in control of the whole situation,” she said.
Andriy Yusov, spokesperson for Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR), said earlier that the HUR had no comment on the cause of the incident.
“I can only quote HUR chief Kyrylo Budanov, who said that ‘the Crimean bridge is a superfluous structure’,” Yusov quipped.
News agency RBC Ukraine reports citing sources in Ukraine’s security service SBU that the attack was a joint operation of the SBU and the Ukrainian navy.
“The bridge was attacked with surface drones. Reaching the bridge was challenging, but we managed it in the end,” the outlet quotes their source as saying.