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17 Jul, 2023 02:36

Traffic stopped on Crimean Bridge due to ‘emergency’ – governor

Sergey Aksyonov said the bridge has been closed to traffic as unverified reports claim there was “an explosion”
Traffic stopped on Crimean Bridge due to ‘emergency’ – governor

Traffic has been suspended on the bridge which connects Crimea with mainland Russia, due to an unspecified “emergency,” Crimean Governor Sergey Aksyonov said in the early hours of Monday. The bridge has been targeted by Ukraine in the past.

Belgorod Region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov later said in a video address that a young girl was injured, while both of her parents were killed and their car was destroyed.

Writing on his Telegram channel, Aksyonov asked people to avoid the bridge, which runs across the Kerch Strait.

TASS news agency cited the Transportation Ministry as saying that the bridge’s deck is damaged, while its pylons are intact.

Videos posted to social media show a traffic jam on the bridge, with motorists forced to turn their vehicles around and drive back where they came from. 

Unverified reports on Telegram claim that there was “an explosion.” Other channels cited witnesses as saying that they heard loud bangs. 

The 19-kilometer (11.8-mile) bridge was opened in 2018. Construction began shortly after the peninsula voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia in the wake of the 2014 Western-backed coup in Kiev.

In October 2022, the bridge was damaged by a truck bombing, which killed five people. While some Ukrainian officials initially denied Kiev’s involvement, the country’s Defense Ministry eventually admitted that it was behind the attack.

Last week, Viktor Afzalov, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Air Force, said that air defenses foiled a Ukrainian attempt to strike the bridge with a missile.

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