Crimean bridge hit, fuel train on fire, road section downed
Traffic across the Crimea bridge was completely stopped, as part of the road crossing collapsed in an apparent attack by Ukraine early on Oct. 8 (Photo:Krym.Realiyi/Telegram)
Ukraine woke on Oct. 8 to dramatic images and video of the Crimean bridge, a symbol of Russia's invasion and war, on fire and partially collapsed.
Train tanker trucks could be seen burning on the rail section of the bridge, while a portion of the road was seen to have collapsed into the water in multiple images and video posted from Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimea.
Reports started emerging at around 6.30 a.m., just after sunrise, of what appears to be a long-range strike by Ukraine on the bridge. The structure is a vital supply route for Russia's war machine into Ukraine.
Some on social media speculated that the attack could have been carried out by special forces, or by a missile. Others pointed out that the level of destruction of the bridge would have required a very large amount of high explosives to be used – too much for a sabotage unit to carry on foot.
It is unknown what was used to attack the bridge. It lies out of range of the weapons that Ukraine is known to possess, though similar "out-of-range" strikes on Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula were carried out in August.
Attack from the sea seems unlikely, as Russia controls the waters around the contested peninsula, which Russia invaded and started to occupy in 2014.
The attack will come as an immense personal blow to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, for whom the bridge was a prestige project that symbolized Russia's determination to hold onto the territory it stole from Ukraine at the beginning of his eight-year war of aggression on his neighbor.
It will also complicate the situation for Russia's beleaguered military, which is already facing Ukrainian counter-offensives in the north and south of mainland Ukraine. The bridge was formerly a rail and road supply route from mainland Russia into the parts of Ukraine that Russia has occupied.
Military experts are already speculating that the destruction of the bridge may force Russia to redeploy some of its troops, which may expose further weaknesses in the Russian front line in Ukraine that Ukrainian forces could exploit as they seek to liberate more territory.
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News