A top Ukrainian presidential aide has claimed one of Vladimir Putin’s warring commanders ordered an explosion which damaged a bridge linking Russia to Crimea. Mykhailo Podolyak alleged the attack was of Russian origin.
He claimed Russia’s FSB secret service and private military organisations are battling with the Russian Defence Ministry, vying to undermine each other’s credibility in a bitter fight over the course of the war.
Mr Podolyak wrote on Twitter: “FSB/PMC try to eliminate leadership of Defense Ministry/GHQ… Isn’t it obvious who made an explosion? Truck arrived from RF [Russian Federation].”
The Russian dictator said in a video on the Kremlin’s Telegram channel: “There is no doubt. This is an act of terrorism aimed at destroying critically important civilian infrastructure…
“This was devised, carried out and ordered by the Ukrainian special services.”
It could further cloud Kremlin reassurances the conflict is going to plan.
Rail services and partial road traffic resumed a day after the blast.
Images showed half of a section of the bridge’s roadway blown away, with the other half still attached.
The 12-mile long bridge was opened with great fanfare four years ago by Putin.
Crimea’s Russian governor, Sergei Aksyonov, told reporters residents would manage despite the damage to the route.
He said: “Of course, emotions have been triggered and there is a healthy desire to seek revenge.”
Mr Aksyonov has said Crimea had a month’s worth of fuel and more than two months’ worth of food.
Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Saturday its forces in southern Ukraine could be fully supplied through existing land and sea routes.
In the Zaporizhzhia attack, Russian aircraft launched at least 12 missiles, partially destroying a nine-storey apartment block, levelling five other residential buildings and damaging many more, Oleksandr Starukh, governor of the region, said on state-run television.
Sixty wounded people were hospitalised, Ukrainian officials said. They included 11 children.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the attack as absolute evil by people he called savages and terrorists. He vowed those responsible would be brought to justice.