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Russia: ‘Three killed in Crimea bridge explosion’

Russian officials say three people have been killed after a truck bomb caused a fire and the collapse of a section of a bridge linking Russia with Crimea, the peninsula Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

By Stefan J. Bos 

Russia’s investigative committee said the explosion killed a man and a woman riding in a vehicle across the bridge, and their bodies were recovered. It did not provide details on the third victim.

The Kerch bridge, built in 2018, had become a symbol of the Kremlin’s occupation of Crimea. But on Saturday, people were stunned to see one-half of the parallel road bridge collapsed into the Kerch Strait following a massive explosion. 

A fiercely burning fire engulfed several railway carriages from a train on the bridge, accompanied by a vast column of black smoke, footage showed. 

The explosion, which witnesses said could be heard miles away, occurred before 6 am local time on Saturday while a train was crossing the bridge. 

Russia’s national anti-terrorism committee said a truck bomb set alight seven railway carriages carrying fuel, resulting in a “partial collapse of two sections of the bridge.”

Authorities said several people died. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but it came after Russia suffered significant setbacks elsewhere on the battlefields in Ukraine. 

Frightened troops

In footage from Ukraine, frightened Russian soldiers could be seen surrendering in the Kherson region after driving their tank carrying a white flag surrounded by heavily armed Ukrainian forces. 

They were forced to lie down as Ukrainian soldiers wanted to ensure they were unarmed before adding them to the long list of prisoners of war. 

In recent weeks, Kyiv claims to have recaptured thousands of square kilometers, or miles, from Russia. But there is concern about Russian President Vladimir Putin stating that four territories that Russia annexed from Ukraine could be defended with nuclear weapons. 

As Ukraine’s counter-offensive continues, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said officials are preparing society for Russia’s possible use of nuclear weapons. 

The United Nations nuclear watchdog has also renewed calls for a protection zone at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia atomic power plant. In addition, it condemned overnight shelling on the power line of the Zaporizhzhia facility, Europe’s most extensive nuclear plan, as “tremendously irresponsible.”

The shelling reportedly cut the power line that supplies cooling systems to the Russian-held station. 

Source: Vatican News