Vladimir Putin suffered a major blow to his war efforts after parts of The Kerch Strait Bridge collapsed, according to reports. The bridge was built in 2018 and designed to link Crimea to Russia’s transport network. It is a vital supply route for Russia’s southern army in Ukraine, which has been coming under increasing pressure from a Ukrainian counteroffensive in recent weeks.
Ukraine’s media reported an explosion on the bridge early this morning at 6am, while Russia’s RIA state news agency said a fuel tank was on fire.
The agency, citing a local official, said: “A fuel tank is on fire on one of the sections of the Crimean bridge.
“The shipping arches are not damaged.”
The official did not reveal the cause of the fire.
Another Moscow-appointed official said: “A cistern carriage is burning with fuel on one of the bridge sections.
“Shipping arches aren’t affected.
“Too early to talk about reasons and consequences. Work is under way to put out the fire.”
Photos circulating on social media appeared to show that the road span of the bridge had collapsed into the water.
Images also show fires burning fiercely in several railway trucks along the length of the train, numbering at least half a dozen with the train stationary on the bridge.
OSINT investigators on social media speculated as to the cause of the blast, with many dismissing Russian claims.
@CasualArtyFan wrote: “New pictures from the strike show evidence of a top-down blast.
“A train explosion wouldn’t have enough energy to cause the bridge to collapse below it.”
Ukraine’s Air Force claimed at least nine aircraft were wiped out in the strike.
Independent analysts at Oryx Research said at least 11 Russian jets – four Su-30SMs and seven Su-24s – were destroyed, based on analysis of the imagery released by satellite companies and Ukraine’s air force.
Kyiv appears to be increasingly confident that it will be able to retake the peninsula, which was originally annexed by Moscow in 2014.
It comes as Ukraine continues to make ground in its Kherson counteroffensive in southern Ukraine.
A senior US military official said the southern counterattack has placed Russian forces in a “defensive crouch”.