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Traffic on key bridge from Crimea to Russia’s mainland halted amid reports of explosions and deaths

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Traffic on the key bridge connecting Crimea to Russia’s mainland has been halted after reports of explosions that Crimean officials say were from a Ukrainian attack

Russia Ukraine War

FILE – A helicopter drops water to stop fire on Crimean Bridge connecting Russian mainland and Crimean peninsula over the Kerch Strait, in Kerch, on Oct. 8, 2022. Traffic on the key bridge connecting Crimea to Russia’s mainland has been halted amid reports of explosions. The governor of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, announced the closure early Monday, July 17, 2023, but did not specify the reason.(AP Photo, File)

The Associated Press

TALLINN, Estonia — Traffic on the key bridge connecting Crimea to Russia’s mainland was halted on Monday after reports of explosions that Crimean officials said were from a Ukrainian attack.

The health ministry in Russia’s Krasnodar region, which lies at the eastern end of the bridge, said two people were killed in an unspecified accident on the bridge and their daughter was injured.

The chairman of Crimea’s parliament, Vladimir Kostantinov, said there was an attack on the bridge and blamed it on Ukraine’s “terrorist regime.”

The extent of the damage was not immediately clear, but rail traffic resumed later Monday morning after being halted for about six hours.

The bridge, which spans the Kerch Strait, was damaged in October by a truck bomb and required months of repairs before resuming full service. The bridge carries both road and rail traffic and is an important supply artery for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

News reports said local residents heard explosions before dawn on Monday.

The governor of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, had announced the closure of the bridge Monday morning but did not specify a reason.

Video posted by Crimea 24 online news channel showed a section of the bridge tilted and hanging down, but there was no indication any portion had fallen into the water.

The 19-kilometer (12-mile) bridge opened in 2018 and is the main land connection between Russia and the Crimean peninsula.

Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence department, declined to comment Monday on the incident but said: “The peninsula is used by the Russians as a large logistical hub for moving forces and assets deep into the territory of Ukraine. Of course, any logistical problems are additional complications for the occupiers.”

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