Putin accuses Kyiv of "terrorism" after the explosion on the Crimean bridge

Putin accuses Kyiv of "terrorism" after the explosion on the Crimean bridge

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Kiev on Sunday of committing a "terrorist act" by masterminding and carrying out the explosion that partially destroyed the Crimean bridge linking Russia and the peninsula on Saturday, which was followed at night by bloody Russian strikes on a Ukrainian city.

"The perpetrators and planners are the Ukrainian intelligence services," Putin said during a meeting with the head of the Russian Investigative Committee, according to a video clip broadcast by the Kremlin.

"There is no doubt that it was a terrorist act aimed at destroying a very important Russian civilian infrastructure," he added.

This is Putin´s first reaction to the explosion,

The Kremlin announced that the Russian president will hold a meeting of the Security Council on Monday.

The Ukrainian army and the Ukrainian special services refused to deny or confirm their responsibility, and President Volodymyr Zelensky only mocked the issue in a video in which he ridiculed Saturday the "cloudy" and "hot" weather in Crimea, in reference to the fire that broke out on the bridge following the explosion.

During the night, Russian bombing of residential buildings in Zaporizhia targeted the site of 12 to 17 dead people, according to different numbers, three days after a previous bombing that 17 people in the city.

The latest toll issued by the local administration indicated that 13 people were killed and 60 wounded, including women and children, after a previous toll issued by the municipal council stated that 17 people had been killed.

"There is no meaning at all. Absolute evil. Terrorists and savages, who issued this order to the one who carried it out. All of them bear responsibility. Before the law and before the people," the Ukrainian president wrote on his Telegram account .

He added that this Russian strike "destroyed private homes where people used to live, sleep without attacking anyone."

The Ukrainian Air Force reported that four cruise missiles and two missiles were fired from combat aircraft and other anti-aircraft missiles were fired at Zaporizhia.

For its part, the Russian army announced that it launched strikes with "high-precision weapons" on units of "foreign mercenaries" near Zaporizhia.

The city is located in the vicinity of the Zaporizhia nuclear plant, which is the center of a conflict that has been going on for months, causing it to stop working. And the International Atomic Energy Agency warned Saturday that the station had lost its last external source of electricity due to the bombings and had become dependent on emergency generators only.

In the aftermath of the massive explosion on the Crimean Bridge, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khosnolin announced that divers would inspect the bridge on Sunday to assess structural damage, and to issue "first results" during the day.

The movement of cars and trains resumed Saturday, a few hours after the explosion, which caused the collapse of several parts of one of the lanes of the bridge, which was built at great cost and inaugurated by Putin in 2018, and led to the outbreak of fire in several trailers of tankers loaded with fuel on part of the railway from the bridge.

In the first stage, ferries took over the transport of trucks.

And the Ministry of Transport announced on Sunday that passenger trains from Crimea to Russia are "running according to the normal schedule."

The Russian authorities attributed the explosion that killed three people on Saturday morning to a truck bomb owned by residents of the Russian Krasnodar region.

Kyiv has repeatedly threatened to strike this bridge, which is used to transport supplies to Russian forces in Ukraine.

Surveillance camera footage circulated on the Internet showed a powerful explosion that coincided with the passage of several vehicles on the bridge, including a truck that the Russian authorities suspect was the source of the explosion.

Other footage showed a convoy of tankers on fire in the railway section of the bridge, and the collapse of two sections of one of the lanes.

According to investigators, the attack, which occurred early Saturday morning, killed three people, the truck driver, a man and a woman who were in a nearby car at the time of the explosion. Their bodies were pulled out of the water.

As it faces difficulties on the Kherson front in southern Ukraine, the Russian army confirmed Saturday that its troop supplies are not under threat.

Since early September, Russian forces have been forced to retreat at many points on the front. Especially it was forced to withdraw from the Kharkiv region (northeast) and retreat to the Kherson region.

Faced with these setbacks in the face of the rush of the Ukrainian army, reinforced with Western arms supplies, at the end of September Putin issued a decree calling up hundreds of thousands of reservists and announced the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, even though his forces only partially control them.

On Sunday, the Russian Security Services (FSB) monitored a "significant increase" of Ukrainian bombardment targeting the Russian lands bordering Ukraine, killing one person and wounding five others during the past week.