The fire occurred hours after explosions rocked the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, sending towering plumes of smoke into the sky and triggering a series of secondary explosions, as fighting rolls into its 227th day.

According to Moscow, a truck exploded igniting a huge fire and damaging the key Kerch bridge, which was built after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
According to Moscow, a truck exploded igniting a huge fire and damaging the key Kerch bridge, which was built after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. (AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE COMMITTEE)

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Putin orders more security for Crimea bridge, energy supplies

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered tighter security for the bridge from Russia to Crimea as well as the infrastructure supplying electricity and natural gas to the peninsula, Interfax said.

In a decree issued hours after the bridge was damaged by a blast, Putin said the FSB security service would be responsible for strengthening protection measures. 

Limited road traffic resumes on intact lanes of Crimea bridge

Russia's Transport Ministry has said that limited road traffic for cars and buses had resumed on intact lanes of the Crimean Bridge, which was hit by an explosion early in the morning.

It said traffic would for now be restricted to crossing between Crimea and the Russian Taman peninsula in alternating directions.

Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-appointed governor of the Crimean peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014, said on social media that heavy goods vehicles would have to wait to cross by ferry. 

Trains can also once again start using a road-and-rail bridge between Russia and Crimea, Russia's transport ministry said in a statement.

Ukraine presidency says Russia had hand in Crimea bridge blast

A Ukrainian presidential advisor has suggested that Moscow was involved in the blast on the bridge which links the occupied Crimean peninsula to the Russian mainland.

"It is worth noting that the truck that detonated, according to all indications, entered the bridge from the Russian side. So the answers should be sought in Russia," Kiev's presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said in comments released by the presidency.

Russia names air force general to lead its forces in Ukraine

Russia's Defence Ministry has named Air Force General Sergey Surovikin as the overall commander of Russian forces fighting in Ukraine, Moscow's third senior military appointment in the space of a week.

The change follows the reported sacking earlier this week of the commanders of two of Russia's five military regions, as its forces have suffered a series of dramatic reverses in northeastern and southern Ukraine in recent weeks. The ministry did not say who, if anyone, Surovikin was replacing.

British military intelligence said in April that General Alexander Dvornikov had been appointed to take charge of Russian forces in Ukraine, almost two months after Moscow began what it calls its "special military operation", in an attempt to "centralise command and control".

NATO must do more to protect members against Russia: Germany

NATO must do more for common security to protect itself against the potential acts of Russia, German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht has said.

"The fact is that we, NATO, must do more for our common security because we cannot know how far Putin's delusions of grandeur can go", Lambrecht said while visiting German troops deployed in Lithuania.

"We've heard Russia's threats to Lithuania, which was implementing European sanctions on the border with Kaliningrad. This is not nearly the first threats and we must take them seriously and be prepared," she said.

Russian troops in Ukraine can get all necessary supplies via land and sea

Russia's Defence Ministry has said that Russian troops fighting in the Mykolaiv, Kryvyi Rih and Zaporizhzhia regions of southern Ukraine could receive all the supplies they needed via existing land and sea corridors, after the bridge linking Russia to Crimea was badly damaged by a blast.

Saturday's explosion on the road-and-rail bridge, which has been used to take Russian men and military supplies through the peninsula into other parts of southern Ukraine, brought down sections of road taking traffic in one direction and also damaged railway tracks. 

Three people killed in Crimea bridge blast

Russian investigators have said three people were killed after a truck exploded on its bridge linking Moscow-annexed Crimea to the mainland, adding that the owner of the vehicle has been identified.

"According to preliminary information, three people were killed," Russia's investigative committee said in a statement. It said they were likely to be "passengers of a car that was near the truck that exploded."

The investigators have also established the details of the truck and its owner, registered in Russia's southern Krasnodar region, and begun searching his place of residence, it added.

Earlier, Russia's investigative committee said it had "initiated a criminal case in connection with the incident."

Huge fire breaks out on a key bridge linking Crimea to Russia

Russia's national anti-terrorism committee said on Saturday that the fire was caused by a car bomb, while prior reports by Russian state-backed media said a fuel tanker caught fire.

"Today at 6:07 am (0307 GMT) on the road traffic side of the Crimean bridge... a car bomb exploded, setting fire to seven oil tankers being carried by rail to Crimea," the committee was quoted as saying.

Earlier, RIA-Novosti and the Tass news agency quoted local Russian official Oleg Kryuchkov as saying an object thought to be a fuel storage tank caught fire and that traffic has been stopped on the bridge.

The rail and road bridge over the Kerch Strait was built after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Moscow uses the bridge to move weapons and other military equipment to parts of Ukraine where the fight rages on. 

IAEA: Zaporizhzhia shelling 'irresponsible' 

Overnight shelling that cut the power line supplying cooling systems at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine was "tremendously irresponsible", the UN atomic watchdog has said, calling again for a protection zone.

"The resumption of shelling, hitting the plant's sole source of external power, is tremendously irresponsible," the International Atomic Energy Agency quoted its chief Rafael Grossi as saying, confirming that the plant is now relying on diesel generators. 

Grossi would visit Russia and Ukraine "soon" to discuss setting up a protection zone at the plant, it added. 

Death toll from missile strike on Ukraine town rises

At least 14 people have died when seven Russian missiles struck the industrial town of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine, the town council's secretary announced.

The missiles struck before dawn on Thursday, with three landing in the town centre, just 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the artillery battles of the southern front.

"Sad news keeps coming to us from the analysis of the buildings hit during the attack," said Anatoly Kurtev via Telegram. 

"For now the number of dead has gone up to 14."

Crimea bridge blaze is only 'the beginning', says Ukrainian official 

A Ukrainian presidential advisor has posted a message on Twitter after conflicting reports of an explosion or fire that damaged the bridge connecting the Russian mainland to the occupied Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, calling it "the beginning" but not directly claiming Ukrainian responsibility.

"Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled," Mykhailo Podolyak wrote.

US ammunition supplies dwindle as Ukraine war drains stockpiles

The US will soon be unable to provide Ukraine with certain types of ammunition that are essential to Kiev's battle against Russia, as supplies are being used up faster than they can be replaced.

US stockpiles of some equipment are "reaching the minimum levels needed for war plans and training," and restocking to pre-invasion levels could take years, Mark Cancian of the Center for Strategic and International Studies wrote in a recent analysis.

Washington is "learning lessons" from the conflict about ammunition needs in a great power war, which are "far greater" than expected, a US military official acknowledged on condition of anonymity.

Ukraine says mass grave found in recently liberated Lyman town

Ukrainian authorities have found a mass grave in the recently liberated eastern town of Lyman and it is unclear how many bodies it holds, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in an online post.

Separately, the Ukrinform news agency cited a senior police official as saying the grave contained 180 bodies.

Ukrainian troops liberated Lyman from Russian control on Saturday.

Multiple explosions rock eastern Ukraine city of Kharkiv

A series of explosions have rocked the eastern Ukraine city of Kharkiv, sending towering plumes of illuminated smoke into the sky and triggering a series of secondary explosions.

The blasts came as Russia concentrated attacks in its increasingly troubled invasion of Ukraine on areas it illegally annexed, while the death toll from earlier missile strikes on apartment buildings in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia rose to 14.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said on Telegram that the early-morning explosions were the result of missile strikes that hit one of the city's medical institutions, a non-residential building and other spots.

For live updates from Friday (October 7), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies