top of page

Blast on Crimean Bridge Deals Blow to Russian War Effort in Ukraine – The New York Times – 08.10.22

Any impediment to traffic on the bridge could affect Russia’s ability to wage war in southern Ukraine, where Ukraine’s forces have been fighting an increasingly effective counteroffensive.

By Michael Schwirtz and Andrew E. Kramer

KYIV, Ukraine — A fireball consumed two sections of the only bridge linking the occupied Crimean Peninsula to Russia on Saturday, disrupting the most important supply line for Russian troops fighting in southern Ukraine and dealing an embarrassing blow to the Kremlin, which is facing continued losses on the battlefield and mounting criticism at home.

The blast and fire sent part of the 12-mile Kerch Strait Bridge tumbling into the sea and killed at least three people, according to the Russian authorities. A senior Ukrainian official corroborated Russian reports that Ukraine was behind the attack. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of a government ban on discussing the blast, added that Ukraine’s intelligence services had orchestrated the explosion, using a bomb loaded onto a truck being driven across the bridge.

For President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who presided over the bridge’s opening in 2018, the explosion was a highly personal affront, underscoring his failure to get a handle on a relentless series of Ukrainian attacks.

The explosion is emblematic of a Russian military in disarray. Russian forces were unable to protect the bridge, despite its centrality to the war effort, its personal importance to Mr. Putin and its potent symbolism as the literal connection between Russia and Crimea.

Hours after the explosion, the Kremlin appointed Gen. Sergei Surovikin, yet another new commander, to oversee its forces in Ukraine. Previous leadership shake-ups have done little to right the military’s floundering performance.

The full extent of the damage was not immediately clear. The bridge has sections for train and automobile traffic. By Saturday evening, the railroad section of the bridge had undergone repairs and a train with 15 cars had successfully crossed the span, according to a Russian state news agency, Tass. Car traffic had also resumed on the undamaged side of the bridge, the head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, said in a post on Telegram.

Even so, Russian officials, military bloggers and politicians were already calling for revenge, with one saying that anything short of an “extremely harsh” response would show weakness.

For the full article in pdf, please click here:

Blast on Crimean Bridge Deals Blow to Russian War Effort in Ukraine – The New York Times –
Download • 279KB

Reporting was contributed by Maria Varenikova from Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, Megan Specia from Kyiv, Ukraine, Cassandra Vinograd from London and Katrin Bennhold from Berlin.

Michael Schwirtz is an investigative reporter with the International desk. With The Times since 2006, he previously covered the countries of the former Soviet Union from Moscow and was a lead reporter on a team that won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for articles about Russian intelligence operations. @mschwirtzFacebook

Andrew E. Kramer is a reporter covering the countries of the former Soviet Union. He was part of a team that won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting for a series on Russia’s covert projection of power. @AndrewKramerNYT

A version of this article appears in print on Oct. 9, 2022, Section A, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: Blast on Crimea Bridge Disrupts Supply Route, In Major Blow to Putin. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

A large explosion hit the Kerch Strait Bridge on Saturday. The bridge links the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula to Russia, and is a primary supply route for Russian troops fighting in the south of Ukraine. CreditCredit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

27 views0 comments
bottom of page