The Kerch Bridge connecting Russia and Crimea has been devastated by a massive explosion which has plunged part of the road into the sea and rendered the route largely unusable. Kremlin investigating authorities have claimed the blast was the result of a truck exploding which ignited fuel tankers on a train travelling alongside the motorway. However, conflict analyst and former British army officer Tim Cross has speculated the explosion could have been the result of a Russian logistics error in the transport of military supplies.
Speaking to Times Radio, Major General Cross said: “At one end of the spectrum, this could have been – I don’t know the answer – but could have been Russians themselves moving explosives, ammunition and weapons across this bridge to put extra resources into the battle around Kherson.
“There may have been some sort of explosion as a result of that. That’s not unknown.
“Part of the business of being an ATO is to ensure ammunition is moved safely. It is possible that this was an explosion of Russian military equipment being moved by the Russians.
“Whatever it was, it was a big bang because you do not bring down a modern bridge like that easily.”
The Kerch bridge is a known route used by the Russian armed forces to transport military supplies to the frontline in Ukraine.
Major General Cross suggested a logistical error by Kremlin military commanders could have caused an explosion within the vehicle transporting arms to Russian soldiers.
Mr Cross worked in the British army as an ammunition technical officer and his analysis is informed by his expertise in explosives and bomb disposal work.
The explosion comes as a huge personal blow to President Putin who opened the bridge in 2018 following Russia’s earlier annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Major General Cross added: “At the other end of the spectrum, it could have been a Ukrainian lorry that went across the bridge, but I doubt that to be honest.
“I also doubt, actually, that the Ukrainians did it. Personally, I think they would have made more of this if they managed to hit this with some sort of weapon attack.”
Chairman of the Crimean State Council Vladimir Konstantinov has blamed the explosion on “Ukrainian vandals”. His statement comes after Ukraine claimed responsibility for a series of strikes against a Russian military base in Crimea last month.
Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee said an explosion was set of in a “cargo vehicle” which then set fire to seven fuel tanks on a train that was travelling towards Crimea.
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Ukrainian authorities have not accepted responsibility for an attack on the Kerch Bridge, although the incident was widely celebrated by Kyiv’s officials.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to President Zelensky, wrote on Twitter: “Crimea, the bridge, the beginning, Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled.”
The official account for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence compared the destruction of the bridge to the famed sinking of the Moskva Russian Navy vessel.
A Tweet from the account teased: “The guided missile cruiser Moskva and the Kerch Bridge, two notorious symbols of Russian power in Ukrainian Crimea, have gone down. What’s next in line?”
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