February 25, 2024

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Traffic stopped on the Crimean Bridge, and reports of explosions

Traffic stopped on the Crimean Bridge, and reports of explosions
  • Traffic has stopped on the Crimean Bridge
  • State of emergency – Russian officials
  • Ukrainian media reports explosions
  • The grain deal is about to expire

(Reuters) – Russian officials said on Monday that traffic had been stopped on the Russian-built Crimea Bridge due to an “emergency” situation, as Ukrainian media reported explosions on the bridge.

Sergey Aksionov, the governor installed by Russia, said the state of emergency occurred on the 145th pillar of the bridge connecting Crimea to Russia’s Krasnodar region. He did not provide any other details.

The Ukrainian news agency RBC reported that explosions were heard on the bridge.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, but it is internationally recognized as part of Ukraine.

Russia’s Gray Zone Channel, a heavily affiliated Telegram channel of the Wagner Mercenary Group, reported two strikes on the bridge at 03:04 AM (0004 GMT) and 03:20 AM.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.

It was not immediately clear what the bridge incident would mean for the UN-brokered deal allowing Ukrainian grain to be safely exported across the Black Sea. The deal is set to expire on Monday and remains in limbo through Sunday night.

The 12-mile (19 km) road and railway bridge were damaged by an explosion last October, in an attack the Kremlin said was orchestrated by Ukrainian security forces. Ukraine indirectly acknowledged the attack only months later.

Both Aksionov and the governor of the Krasnodar region, Veniamin Kondratyev, said they had set up operational headquarters in their regions to handle the emergency on the bridge.

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The Russian-backed administration of the peninsula said Crimea had all the necessary stocks, but urged residents not to travel across the bridge.

Serhiy Prachuk, a spokesman for the Ukrainian military department in Odessa, posted a photo on his telegram of what appeared to be a line of bridge in the distance, broken in the middle.

It was not immediately clear if this was related to the attack.

(Reporting by Lydia Kelly from Melbourne); Editing by Kim Coghill, Michael Berry, and Jay Faulconbridge

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