MOSCOW — A fire caused by a car bomb has broken out at a key road and rail bridge linking Crimea to Russia, which annexed the territory from Ukraine in 2014, Moscow authorities said on Saturday.
“Today at 06:07 (03:07 GMT) on the road traffic side of the Crimean Bridge … a car bomb exploded, setting fire to seven oil tankers being transported by rail to Crimea,” news agencies quoted Russians. terrorism committee as it says.
The bridge, which was built by order of Russian President Vladimir Putin and inaugurated in 2018, was a key transport link for transporting military equipment to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine, especially in the south, as well as for transporting troops there. .
Russia had maintained the bridge was safe despite fighting in Ukraine but had threatened Kyiv with reprisals if attacked.
RIA-Novosti and the Tass news agency quoted a local Russian official, Oleg Kryuchkov, as saying that an object believed to be a fuel storage tank caught fire and traffic was stopped on the bridge.
Footage shared on social media claimed to show fire and damage to the span. The authenticity of the reports and images could not be immediately verified.
The crossing is a pair of road and rail bridges that Russia built after seizing and annexing Crimea from Ukraine in violation of international law in 2014.
The blaze came hours after explosions rocked the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv early on Saturday, sending towering plumes of smoke into the sky and triggering a series of secondary explosions .
Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said on Telegram that the morning explosions were the result of missile strikes in the center of the city. He said the explosions started fires in one of the city’s medical facilities and in a non-residential building. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The blasts came hours after Russia focused attacks in its increasingly troubled invasion of Ukraine on areas it illegally annexed, while the death toll from earlier missile strikes on apartment buildings in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia increased to 14.
On Friday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to human rights organizations in Russia and Ukraine, and to an activist imprisoned in Belarus, an ally of Moscow.
Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the committee, said the honor went to “three outstanding defenders of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence”, although it was widely seen as a rebuke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his conduct of the worst armed conflict in Europe since. The Second World War.
This week Putin illegally claimed four regions of Ukraine as Russian territory, including the Zaporizhzhia region which is home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, whose reactors were shut down last month.