Key bridge linking Crimea to Russia hit by huge explosion

A fuel tank explosion has caused parts of Europe’s longest bridge that connects Russia to Crimea to collapse, Russian officials told.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a “government commission” to examine the explosion, according to Russian state media, TASS.

The head of Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Ministry of Transport are also at the scene of the incident.

Statement By the Russian-Appointed Head of Crimea

“Two ranges of the roadbed of the part [of the bridge] from Krasnodar to Kerch, imploded” after a large explosion, Sergey Aksenov, the Russian-appointed Head of Crimea told.

“Simultaneously, gas tanks burst into flames. Presently two trains are drawing closer” to remove the burning train, he added.

“It will be feasible to evaluate the degree of harm to the extension and support points when the fire is extinguished, and discussing the planning of the rebuilding of traffic will be conceivable,” Aksenov said in a statement.

Pictures of the Kerch Bridge posted on social media seem to show a piece of the street of the vehicle and rail span had fallen into the waters beneath it.

The bridge spans the Kerch Strait, linking the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, where important Ukrainian ports such as Mariupol are situated. The cause of the explosion remains uncertain.

Work is “in progress to extinguish the fire,” the adviser to the Russian administration head of annexed Crimea, Oleg Kryunchkov, said in a post.

Official Accused ‘Ukrainian vandals’ for the Blast

An official in Russian-occupied Crimea accused “Ukrainian vandals” of the blast on the bridge in a social media post.

“Ukrainian vandals some way or another figured out how to get their horrendous paws on the Crimean Bridge. And, presently they have something to be glad for, in 23 years of their financial movement, they didn’t figure out how to construct anything deserving of interest in Crimea. Yet, they prevailed with regards to harming the roadbed of the Russian bridge,” Executive of the State Board of the Republic of Crimea Vladimir Konstantinov said.

“The purposes behind the disaster will be investigated, and the damage will be fixed as soon as possible”

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