Explosions reported on Crimean bridge amid ‘emergency situation’ – latest on Ukraine

Belarus claims Wagner mercenary forces are training its troops

Officials closed roads leading to the Kerch Bridge linking Russia and the Crimean peninsula in the early hours today citing an “emergency situation” amid multiple reports of explosions.

There was no immediate confirmation of an attack on the bridge, a critical supply route of munitions for Russian fighters in Ukraine, but it has been struck at least once previously since Vladimir Putin’s invasion began more than 500 days ago.

Preliminary visuals of the lit-up Kerch Bridge on social media appeared to show a portion had been damaged. Russian military bloggers reported two missile strikes on the overpass.

The RBC-Ukraine news agency said explosions were heard on the bridge.

The bridge suffered a powerful blast in October last year, killing three people, which Mr Putin called a “terrorist attack” orchestrated by the Ukrainian security services.

Kyiv has never claimed responsibility for attacks outside its soil but Volodymyr Zelensky indirectly suggested that his country was responsible for the attack as he listed it as one of his army’s “successes” in 2022.


No traffic currently using Crimean bridge

People are not using the Kerch Bridge today and no traffic is currently present on the flyover, according to a video by Reuters.

The video showed the scene this morning on the bridge connecting Russia and the annexed Crimean peninsula after local officials declared an “emergency”.

The Crimean Bridge was damaged by an explosion last October, in an attack that the Kremlin said had been orchestrated by Ukrainian security forces. Ukraine admitted only indirectly to the attack months later.

Arpan Rai17 July 2023 06:10


Ferry service disrupted at Crimea Bridge as crowd gathers – report

Police officials at the Crimea Bridge warned drivers in the early hours today that the ferry service at the bridge was not working, Russia’s RIA state news agency reported.

This comes as videos shared on social media showed traffic jam near the bridge as police official on the spot tell them to “take the ferry or go home”.

Russia-backed officials are also trying to assure the locals that the peninsular region is fully stockpiled with fuel, food and industrial goods and local warehouses have all the necessary stockpiles to avert any crisis-like situation.

Arpan Rai17 July 2023 05:48


Parents killed in Crimea bridge attack and child suffers injuries, Russia says

At least two people have died in the explosions on Crimea’s Kerch Bridge this morning, Russian officials said.

A family of three – a couple and their daughter – were travelling across the bridge when the incident took place.

“We all saw with you on a video on the internet [of] a damaged car with Belgorod numbers. What information is available at the moment: a girl was injured,” said Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region in southern Russia.

“The hardest thing is that her parents died, her dad and mum.”

Arpan Rai17 July 2023 05:36


Trump says he would tell Zelensky to ‘make a deal’

Donald Trump has again offered his insight on how the war can be ended in Ukraine, claiming that he knows the Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky very well.

“These are smart people, including Macron of France. I could go through the whole list of people, including Putin.… These people are sharp, tough and generally vicious. They’re vicious, and they’re at the top of their game. We have a man that has no clue what’s happening. It’s the most dangerous time in the history of our country,” the former US president told Fox News.

On being asked about his claims to “end the war in Ukraine in 24 hours” and response to the situation, Mr Trump added: “I know Zelensky very well. I felt he was very honourable because when they asked him about the perfect phone call that I made, he said it was indeed, he said it was.”

“He didn’t even know what they were talking about. He could have grandstanded…,” he said.

“I know Zelensky very well, and I know Putin very well, even better. And I had a good relationship, very good with both of them. I would tell Zelensky, no more. You got to make a deal. I would tell Putin, if you don’t make a deal, we’re going to give him a lot. We’re going to [give Ukraine] more than they ever got if we have to. I will have the deal done in one day. One day,” he said.

Arpan Rai17 July 2023 05:29


Why is Kerch bridge important for Russia in war with Ukraine

The Kerch Bridge has been a sensitive and potentially strategic target ever since the start of the Ukraine war, with at least one previous successful attack and several reported attempts taking place.

The bridge is crucial for the supply of fuel, food and other products to Crimea, where the port of Sevastopol is the historic home base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

It also became a major supply route for Russian forces deeper in Ukraine after Moscow invaded its neighbour last February, sending forces from Crimea to seize most of southern Ukraine’s Kherson region and some of the adjoining Zaporizhzhia province.

The 19km (12 mile) bridge, also known as the Crimea Bridge or the Kerch Strait Bridge, is the only direct land link between Russia and the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Arpan Rai17 July 2023 05:16


Two 3am attacks on Crimean bridge, traffic suspended

At least two missile strikes have been reported on the Kerch Bridge, at 3.04am and 3.20am, by Russia’s Grey Zone channel, a heavily followed Telegram channel affiliated with the Wagner mercenary group.

The Independent has not verified these reports.

Russia-backed governor Sergei Aksyonov and the governor of the Krasnodar region, Veniamin Kondratyev, said they have set up operational headquarters in their regions to address the “emergency situation” on the bridge.

Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Odesa military administration, posted a photo on his Telegram of what seemed to be the outline of the bridge in the distance, broken in the middle.

It was not immediately clear what the incident on the bridge would mean for the UN-brokered deal that allows the safe Black Sea export of Ukrainian grain. The deal is due to expire today and was still in limbo as of Sunday night.

Arpan Rai17 July 2023 04:52


Second attempt to strike Kerch Bridge in 10 days leaves it damaged

Less than 10 days ago, Russian-installed authorities in the Crimean peninsula confirmed a cruise missile was shot down near the city of Kerch, briefly suspending the traffic on the flyover connecting the annexed region to Russia.

The interception of the missile by Russian air defences didn’t result in any damage or casualties, the Moscow-appointed governor of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, had said.

Officials in Russian regions and Moscow-appointed authorities in Crimea, which was illegally annexed in 2014, have regularly reported explosions, drone strikes, and even cross-border raids by Ukrainian saboteurs. Kyiv has never openly taken responsibility for these attacks.

Arpan Rai17 July 2023 04:44


Residents asked not to travel on Crimean Bridge amid ‘emergency’

Russian-installed governor Sergei Aksyonov asked people to refrain from travelling on the Crimean Bridge connecting the peninsula to Russia this morning, after reporting earlier an “emergency situation” on the bridge.

The RBC-Ukraine news agency had earlier reported that explosions were heard on the bridge.

Traffic was stopped at the Russian-built Crimean Bridge linking the Crimean peninsula to the Russian region of Krasnodar due to “an emergency” situation, Mr Aksyonov wrote on Telegram earlier today.

He did not provide any further detail.

Arpan Rai17 July 2023 03:58


Moscow takes shares of Danone and Carlsberg subsidiaries

Russia has seized control of French yoghurt maker Danone’s subsidiary in the country along with beer maker Carlsberg’s stake in a local brewer.

The insight was confirmed in a decree signed by Putin on Sunday.

In the memo, Danone Russia and Baltika Breweries were said to be put under “temporary management” of government property agency Rosimushchestvo.

Holly Hales17 July 2023 03:00


Wagner fighters arrive in Central African Republic

Hundreds of “experienced” Wagner fighters have arrived in the Central African Republic to secure a referendum, according to a Russian private security company.

The Officers’ Union for International Security (OUIS) on Telegram on Sunday: “Another plane has arrived in Bangui with instructors to work in the Central African Republic [CAR].”

The arrival is in anticipation of the constitutional referendum scheduled for 30 July.

OUIS is a front company for the Wagner Group in CAR, according to the United States.

It is believed to be run by Russian Alexandre Ivanov, who was sanctioned by the in January.

Holly Hales17 July 2023 01:30


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