Video: Kerch Strait Bridge Damaged in Massive Explosion

kerch strait bridge

Published Oct 8, 2022 2:16 AM by The Maritime Executive

In the early hours of Saturday morning, an explosion badly damaged the roadway of Russia's Kerch Strait Bridge, forcing its closure for an unknown period of time. The bridge was built following the annexation of Crimea and is a visible symbol of the Russian occupation, as well as a strategic asset for the ongoing Russian invasion in southern Ukraine. 

Video and imagery from the scene show extensive damage to two spans of the road bridge's deck. One lane of the deck is broken and in the water, though the adjacent lane remains in its place. The full extent of the damage is under investigation and the bridge remains closed to traffic for an indefinite period, according to state media. 

"Today at 06:07, a truck was blown up on the automobile part of the Crimean bridge from the side of the Taman Peninsula, which caused the ignition of seven fuel tanks of a train moving in the direction of the Crimean Peninsula. There was a partial collapse of two automobile spans of the bridge," Russia's National Anti-Terrorist Committee (NAC) reported.

A ferry service will carry military and civilian traffic across the strait in the interim, TASS reports. Navigation through the center span is unaffected.

The rail section of the bridge is also blocked because of a burning train of tank cars. Russia's military logistics system is heavily reliant on rail, and a rail line shutdown will reduce the number of routes available for feeding its supply network on the western side of the strait. 

Speaker of Russia's State Council of Crimea Vladimir Konstantinov accused Ukraine of carrying out the attack, and in a statement he vowed that the bridge would be rebuilt.

Though no party has claimed responsibility, the timing may be symbolic. Russian President Vladimir Putin personally inaugurated the bridge in 2018, and the $3.7 billion megaproject was a major priority for his administration; the attack followed hours after his 70th birthday.

"This is a massive influence operation win for Ukraine. Even if they didn’t do it, it is a demonstration to Russians, and the rest of the world, that Russia’s military cannot protect any of the provinces it recently annexed," said security analyst Mick Ryan in a social media post.