Vladimir Putin will lead a meeting with Russia’s Security Council on Monday, the Kremlin has confirmed, as Moscow claims the explosion at Crimea’s Kerch Bridge was an act of “terrorism”. The damage to the key supply route from mainland Russia to the annexed Crimean Peninsula has widely been seen as an embarrassment for Putin, just hours after he marked his 70th birthday.
Following the explosion, the Russian leader “has a planned meeting with the permanent members of the Security Council”, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed on Sunday evening.
The meeting will take place on Monday after Putin accused Kyiv of attacking the bridge, calling the explosion an act of “terrorism”.
Speaking with Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Putin claimed Ukrainian forces had attempted to take a piece of Russia’s infrastructure in the region out of action.
Putin said: “There is no doubt, this is an act of terrorism aimed at destroying Russia’s critical civilian infrastructure.”
He added: “Its authors, perpetrators and beneficiaries are the security services of Ukraine.”
Kyiv has not accepted responsibility for the explosion, although it did appear in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s nightly address.
He said on Saturday evening: “Today was not a bad day and mostly sunny on our state’s territory.
The Russian state news agency, TASS, originally reported first thing on Saturday that a fuel tank was on fire but that it was “too early to speak about causes and consequences”.
The investigative committee then said it had identified the driver of the truck that exploded as a resident of southern Russia.
It said: “The Investigative Committee’s investigators identified the owner of the truck as a resident of the Krasnodar Region.
“Investigative activities are being carried out at his place of residence.”
The rail and road bridge was personally opened by Putin in 2018, and has aided Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from the peninsula.
Russian authorities have since said that both rail and road traffic across the bridge has resumed.
Putin then signed a decree authorising increased security measures in the area around the bridge, TASS reported.