Putin vows response to Ukrainian ‘terror attack’ on Crimea bridge

Satellite image of damage to the Kerch bridge, Crimea

Satellite image of damage to the Kerch bridge, Crimea

Vladimir Putin has said Russia’s defence ministry is preparing a response to an attack on the Kerch bridge.

At a televised meeting with national and regional officials, Putin pinned responsibility for the “terror attack” on Ukraine, branding it a “cruel” and “senseless” act.

“The Ministry of Defence is already preparing appropriate reprisals,” he said.

Kyiv has not officially claimed credit for damaging the bridge, which was personally opened in 2018 by the Russian president and links Russia to Moscow-annexed Crimea.

Russia said two civilians were killed in the attack on the critical piece of infrastructure, a major artery for Russian troops fighting in Ukraine.

Kyiv has long maintained that the bridge was built illegally, and its use by Russia for military supplies makes it a legitimate target. It was last hit by a massive explosion and fire in October.

Sign up for The Telegraph’s From The US Editor newsletter.

06:45 PM BST

Today’s liveblog is now closed

Thanks for following today’s liveblog.

We will be back tomorrow with all the latest updates on the Ukraine war.

Read the latest news on the conflict here

06:15 PM BST

Putin vows Russian response to Crimea attack

Vladimir Putin has warned there will “of course be a Russian response” to the overnight attack on the Kerch bridge, for which he blamed Ukraine.

“The Ministry of Defence is already preparing appropriate reprisals,” Putin said, calling the incident a senseless and cruel act by Kyiv.

He claimed the bridge had not been used for months to supply Russian forces fighting in Ukraine.

Kyiv has not officially claimed credit for damaging the bridge but Ukrainian media quoted unidentified officials as saying Ukraine’s Security Service was behind the attack.

Putin attends a meeting on the Crimea bridge attack at the Kremlin, in Moscow

Putin attends a meeting on the Crimea bridge attack at the Kremlin, in Moscow – Alexander Kazakov/AP

06:05 PM BST

Kerch bridge will be completely repaired by November 1, says Russian deputy PM

The Kerch bridge will be completely repaired by November 1, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin has said.

Speaking in a televised meeting with Vladimir Putin, Mr Khusnullin said there was no damage to pylons after an overnight attack.

But one section of road had been completely destroyed and would have to be rebuilt, he added.

Mr Khusnullin said road traffic would resume in one direction by September 15, with road traffic in both directions restored by November 1. The parallel railway bridge was not damaged in the attack, he said.

05:51 PM BST

Putin blames Crimea bridge attack on ‘terrorists’

Starting an emergency meeting on the Kerch bridge attack 40 minutes later than scheduled, Vladimir Putin said Russia had been hit by a “terrorist act” that had killed “peaceful citizens”.

“This is the second terrorist attack on the bridge,” he said. “I am waiting for specific proposals to improve the security of this strategic, important transport facility.”

The bridge was last hit by a massive explosion and fire in October.

Russia said earlier on Monday that two civilians had been killed in the latest attack.

03:08 PM BST

Ukraine goads Russia over ‘short-lived’ Kerch bridge in Crimea

Russia has been goaded over its “short-lived” infrastructure after the Kerch bridge connecting Crimea with the mainland was damaged.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky, did not mention the bridge by name but appeared to reference the fact that it is a crucial supply route for Russian soldiers in Kherson and Crimea.

He tweeted: “Any illegal structures used to deliver Russian instruments of mass murder are necessarily short-lived… regardless of the reasons for the destruction.”

Kyiv has not officially claimed credit for damaging the bridge, which was opened in 2018 by Vladimir Putin. Moscow has accused Ukraine’s security services of launching a drone strike.

Train journeys across the bridge resumed this morning. However, a lane appears to be badly damaged and has caused severe traffic jams in Crimea.

Some have suggested that Ukraine targeted the bridge as an affront to Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chair of Russia’s security council. Exactly one year ago, he said Kyiv would face “Judgement Day” for an attack on Crimea

03:01 PM BST

Kremlin withdrawal from Black Sea deal will ‘harm millions’, says White House

Russia’s suspension of a pact allowing the export of grain from Ukraine “will worsen food security and harm millions”, according to the US.

A White House spokesman said: “We urge the Government of Russia to immediately reverse its decision.”

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, said withdrawing from the deal was an “act of cruelty”.

02:48 PM BST

Watch: Ukrainian troops ambush Russian truck near front line

02:37 PM BST

Russian bomber crashes into sea

A Russian Su-25 fighter-bomber crashed close to a port near the Sea of Azov, local officials have said.

The pilot successfully ejected from the plane and was later rescued from the water. Unverified videos show a parachute floating down into the sea.

The incident occurred close to the town of Yeysk, which lies across the Sea of Azov from the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

02:30 PM BST

Source: Ukraine targeted bridge in ‘special operation’

Ukraine’s navy and security service carried out an overnight attack on a bridge linking Russia to Crimea using drones, a source has said.

They told the news agency AFP: “Today’s attack on the Crimean bridge is a special operation of the SBU and the navy. It was difficult to reach the bridge, but in the end it was possible to do it.”

Russia accused Ukraine of committing an act of “terrorism”, after an explosion allegedly injured a young girl and killed her parents.

One lane appears to have been badly damaged. If the bridge is made unusable it would leave Russia with just one ground supply line to troops in Kherson and Crimea.

The Russian-built bridge had been partially destroyed in a truck bomb attack in October 2022, blamed by Moscow on Ukraine but denied by Kyiv.

The SBU, Ukraine’s security service, wrote on Telegram: “The bridge has gone to sleep again.” Kyiv has not officially claimed responsibility for the attack.

01:55 PM BST

US to announce a further $500m in huminatarian aid

The US aid chief is set to announce more than $500 million in humanitarian assistance for Ukraine on Monday during a visit to the war-torn country.

Samantha Power said the US was “committed to providing life-saving assistance to those who need it most”, and will meet with farmers, energy workers and emergency response teams during her trip.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers on both sides have been killed and millions have fled their homes since Russia launched its invasion in February last year.

01:31 PM BST

Zelensky: We will get justice for victims of downed airliner

Volodymyr Zelensky has pledged to hold Russia “fully accountable” for hundreds of deaths caused when a civilian airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

Two Russians and one Ukrainian man were found guilty of murdering the passengers and crew members of Malaysia airlines flight MH17 last year, but Russia has refused to extradite the men.

Mr Zelensky tweeted on the ninth anniversary of the incident: “Today, [Ukraine] honors the memory of the victims of #MH17.

“Our thoughts and hearts are with the families and loved ones of each and every one of the 298 victims. This tragedy caused by the aggressor will never be forgotten.

“The invading state, the terrorist state will be held fully accountable for all crimes committed in Ukraine.”

01:11 PM BST

Pictured: Putin meets governor of Russia’s Irkutsk region

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Irkutsk Region Governor Igor Kobzev, in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Irkutsk Region Governor Igor Kobzev, in Moscow – Alexander Kazakov/Pool Sputnik Kremlin

01:04 PM BST

Sunak: Russia ‘robbing millions of access to vital grain’

Russia’s decision to withdrawn from the Black Sea grain deal risks causing global “suffering”, Rishi Sunak has said.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman called the move “very disappointing” and added that Moscow “will be robbing millions of people of access to vital grain”.

12:39 PM BST

Kerch bridge girl is ‘injured but still conscious’

A girl wounded in an alleged drone attack on the Kerch bridge is “in a state of moderate severity”, Russian media has reported.

According to the state-owned broadcaster Zvezda, she is still conscious and has been taken to the intensive care unit of a children’s hospital.

Two people, who are said to be the girl’s parents, were killed on the bridge this morning.

12:19 PM BST

Sweden to help Ukraine gain EU membership

Sweden’s government has pledged six billion kronor (£448m) in aid to rebuild Ukraine and pave the way for it to join the European Union.

Johan Forsell, the international development minister, said the funds – which will be spread over a four-year period – would help build up Ukraine’s infrastructure, healthcare, and transition to green technologies.

He said: “This is the largest and most ambitious bilateral strategy that Sweden has developed, ever.”

The aid package is also intended to bring in reforms to help Ukraine gain EU membership. Mr Forsell added: “In the long term we want to see not just one, but two blue and yellow flags in Kyiv. The Ukrainian and the European.”

12:07 PM BST

Russia ‘cynically’ terminated Black Sea grain deal, says von der Leyen

Russia’s decision to suspend a Black Sea grain export deal has been condemned as a “cynical move” by the president of the European Commission.

Ursula von der Leyen said the EU would continue working to ensure food security for poor countries, which is likely to be disrupted by the Kremlin’s move.

11:59 AM BST

Cleverly: ‘Our sanctions will hold Putin’s lackeys to account’

The foreign secretary has accused Vladimir Putin of trying to “wipe Ukraine from the map” as he announced 14 individuals would be added to sanctions lists.

James Cleverly said in a statement: “In his chilling programme of forced child deportation, and the hate-filled propaganda spewed by his lackeys, we see Putin’s true intention – to wipe Ukraine from the map.

“Today’s sanctions hold those who prop up Putin’s regime to account, including those who would see Ukraine destroyed, its national identity dissolved, and its future erased.”

Among those to be sanctioned today are Russia’s culture minister Olga Lyubimova, and the education minister Sergey Kravtsov.

11:46 AM BST

Traffic jams form after Kerch bridge damaged

A three-mile traffic jam has formed in Kherson as Crimea residents head towards Melitopol, according to Russian media.

It comes after an “emergency incident” on Crimea’s Kerch bridge, which the Kremlin has blamed on a drone attack by Ukraine’s security services.

A 45-second clip from the state-backed news wire RIA Novosti shows a line of cars and lorries at a standstill.

Kevin Rothrock, an editor at the independent Russian news outlet Meduza, said: “I wonder if this is just an overtaxed road getting the bridge’s traffic or if people are panicking and leaving en masse.”

11:28 AM BST

Russia’s education minister ‘deported Ukrainian children’

A Russian minister accused of the “forced deportation” of Ukrainian children is among the 14 individuals to be sanctioned today by Britain.

Culture minister Olga Lyubimova was sanctioned for promoting policies which “destabilise Ukraine or threaten the territorial integrity”, the Government said.

Others, including education minister Sergey Kravtsov, were involved in Russia’s “programme for the forced deportation and re-education of Ukrainian children”.

11:16 AM BST

Ukraine formally notified of end to grain deal

Russia has formally notified Ukraine that it will terminate the Black Sea grain deal, according to Moscow’s ambassador to Belarus.

Boris Gryzlov said a note had been sent from the Russian embassy in Minsk to Ukraine via diplomatic channels, and that the deal would end from July 18.

11:10 AM BST

MoD: Russia deliberately targeting hospitals and health workers

Russia is breaching international law by targeting hospitals and healthcare workers in its invasion of Ukraine, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

It accused Moscow of waging a “war on healthcare”, noting that 273 attacks affecting medical supplies had taken place since the war began in February last year.

10:59 AM BST

Russia investigating site of bridge ‘attack’

Russian investigators have been pictured investigating what the Kremlin claims is a drone attack by Kyiv on the Kerch bridge.

Video footage from the Russian Investigative Committee shows men picking up debris from the bridge, which appears badly damaged and slopes downwards, and placing it in clear plastic bags.

A man makes notes on a clipboard in another shot, with numbered items set out on the ground beside him. An individual in a white forensic uniform is also seen.

10:42 AM BST

‘We will destroy the insects who attacked bridge’, pledges Russia’s Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, has promised reprisals for the Ukrainian attack on the Crimea Bridge this morning, writes James Kilner.

“Terrorists… only understand the language of power. Only personal and inhumane methods. It’s necessary to blow up their houses and the houses of their relatives,” he said. “The main thing is to destroy the top leadership of terrorist organisations and whichever cracks these insects hide in.”

Mr Medvedev, a former Russian president, has been heavily mocked throughout the war for his vitriolic outbursts promising to rein hell and damnation on the Kremlin’s opponents.

Exactly one year ago, Mr Medvedev promised Ukraine would face “Judgement Day” if it attacked Crimea. He has also pledged to destroy Britain with nuclear missiles.

10:40 AM BST

Kremlin: No link between cancelled grain deal and bridge attack

Russia has denied it cancelled the Black Sea grain deal because of an attack on the Kerch bridge which it has blamed on Ukraine’s security services.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that President Vladimir Putin’s position on the deal had been known before the incident, which left two people dead.

10:34 AM BST

More Wagner fighters arrive in Belarus

A third convoy of Wagner fighters has been spotted in Belarus, according to a military monitoring group.

According to Belaruski Hajun, a large column made up of at least 20 vehicles is heading for a tent camp at the village of Tsel.

Members of the mercenary group are thought to have been arriving in Belarus since at least Tuesday, following their abortive coup against Russia’s military leadership in June.

10:20 AM BST

Pictured: Russian investigators pick through debris on Kerch bridge

Investigators from the Russian Investigative Commitee working on the Kerch bridge

Investigators from the Russian Investigative Commitee working on the Kerch bridge – AFP

10:15 AM BST

Black Sea grain deal is over, says Kremlin

Russia has withdrawn the Black Sea grain export deal, the Kremlin says.

The deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey a year ago, allowed Ukrainian grain blocked by the Russia-Ukraine war to be safely exported to avoid a global food crisis.

It had been extended several times, but was due to expire on Monday. Russia had been saying for months that conditions for its extension had not been fulfilled.

The news comes after Russia accused Kyiv of committing “terrorism” by attacking the Kerch bridge with maritime drones.

10:03 AM BST

Exclusive: Belarus abducts thousands of Ukrainian children

Thousands of Ukrainian children have been forcibly deported to Belarus in an alleged war crime that could implicate president Alexander Lukashenko, writes Sophia Yan, Verity Bowman and Nataliya Vasilyeva.

Some 2,150 Ukrainian children as young as six are estimated to have been taken to at least four camps in Belarus since September 2022, with the number expected to reach 3,000 by autumn this year. Some are alleged to have been given military training.

Evidence linking these crimes to Mr Lukashenko and other Belarusian officials has been submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC), The Telegraph can reveal.

Read the full story here.

09:38 AM BST

Pictured: Crimean bridge sags after alleged attack

A view shows the section of a road split and sloping to one side following an alleged attack on the Crimea Bridge

A view shows the section of a road split and sloping to one side following an alleged attack on the Crimea Bridge – CRIMEA24TV/via REUTERS

09:28 AM BST

‘The bridge went to sleep’, says Ukraine’s security service

Ukraine’s security service has posted a cryptic message that apparently refers to the damage caused to the Kerch Bridge.

In what is said to be a twist on a popular lullaby, the SBU wrote on Telegram: “Nightingale, dear brother,/The bridge went ‘to sleep’ again/But once… Two!”

Various media outlets quote a source who claims the bridge was attacked by the SBU and naval forces, although this has not been officially confirmed.

09:17 AM BST

‘Heavy battles’ as Russian forces advance in Kharkiv

Kyiv is on the defensive as Russian forces advance towards Kupyansk in the Kharkiv Oblast, a Ukrainian defence minister has said.

Hanna Maliar wrote on Telegram: “The enemy continues to focus its main efforts on the Kupyansk, Lymansk, Bakhmutsk, Avdiivsk and Marinsk directions, heavy battles continue.

“The enemy has been actively advancing since the end of last week in the Kupyansk direction of Kharkiv Oblast.

“Currently, the enemy is searching for weak points in our defence… with the aim of pushing our units beyond the barrier line of the Oskil River.

“Our troops are on the defensive, putting up strong resistance. The situation is complicated.”

09:09 AM BST

Kerch Bridge: What do we know so far?

Russian sources have claimed the Crimean Bridge was struck by two underwater drones, in an attack purportedly carried out by Ukrainian Intelligence and naval operatives, writes Joe Barnes.

Two explosions were reported at 3am local time close to the bridge, which links occupied Crimea to mainland Russia.

Footage later emerged on social media appearing to show a span of the strait’s road bridge.

Russia’s national anti-terrorism committee said: “A terrorist attack was carried out on the Crimean Bridge by two Ukrainian unmanned surface vehicles. As a result of the terrorist attack on the Crimean bridge, the road component of the bridge was damaged, two adults were killed and one child was injured.”

The Ukrainian Pravda outlet reported that the bridge was damaged in a strike by the country’s intelligence service and naval forces.

A source told the publication the blasts had been caused by a drone strike.

Kyiv’s forces have repeatedly attempted to hit with water-borne drones.

Just last week, Russia claimed it had repelled one of the most intense drone attacks on the Crimean port of Sevastopol, home of the Russian navy’s Black Sea Fleet.

08:56 AM BST

First train crosses Crimean Bridge after explosion

A train has crossed the reopened Kerch Bridge after an explosion earlier today left two people dead, it has been reported.

According to Russian news agency Tass, the No.178 train travelling from Simferopol, Crimea’s second-largest city, has already passed over on its way to Moscow.

An adviser to the Crimean government said cars leaving the region will have to do so via ferry, after part of the bridge’s road was apparently damaged.

08:47 AM BST

Watch: How badly damaged is the Kerch Bridge?

08:31 AM BST

Britain and US ‘directly participated in bridge attack’

Britain has been accused of running a “terrorist state” after Russia claimed it was involved in the decision to attack the Kerch Bridge.

A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said: “Today’s attack on the Crimean bridge was carried out by the Kyiv regime. This regime is terrorist and has all the hallmarks of an international organized crime group.

“Decisions are made by Ukrainian officials and the military with the direct participation of American and British intelligence agencies and politicians. The U.S. and Britain are in charge of a terrorist state structure.”

The spokeswoman did not provide evidence for the claims.

08:25 AM BST

Russia: Bridge explosion was Ukrainian drone attack

Ukraine attacked the Crimean bridge overnight using unmanned drones on the water surface, Russia’s Anti-Terrorist Committee has claimed.

The account matches reports from Ukrainian media, who quote a source from the security services.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said Ukraine’s “special services” were responsible for the attack, and that it had opened a criminal investigation.

08:16 AM BST

Ukraine has retaken 81 miles on counteroffensive, says minister

Kyiv has retaken nearly seven square miles in the east and south in the last week as it attempts to push back Russian forces, a Ukrainian defence minister has said.

Hanna Maliar said on Telegram that it means that Ukrainian troops have recaptured more than 81 square miles since its counteroffensive began last month.

08:08 AM BST

One dead and nine injured in Kherson

One person was killed and nine people were wounded in an attack on Kherson, the local governor has said.

Oleksandr Prokudin wrote on Telegram that Russian forces had fired 40 shells on the city, injuring two children in the process.

He said: “The Russian military targeted the residential quarters of the populated areas of the region; warehouses, the territory of the car market and one of the infratsructure enterprises of the city.

“As a result of Russian aggression, 1 person died, 9 others (2 of them – children) were injured.”

08:00 AM BST

Pictured: Damage caused to Kerch Bridge by alleged explosion

This photo released by Ostorozhno Novosti on Monday, July 17, 2023, reportedly shows damaged parts of an automobile link of the Crimean Bridge

This photo released by Ostorozhno Novosti on Monday, July 17, 2023, reportedly shows damaged parts of an automobile link of the Crimean Bridge – OSTOROZHNO NOVOSTI

07:50 AM BST

Ukrainian media: ‘Sources say Ukraine was responsible for attack’

Ukraine’s navy and security services used drones to attack Crimea’s Kerch Bridge, it has been reported.

A source told the news agency RBC-Ukraine: “The bridge was attacked with the help of surface drones. It was difficult to reach the bridge, but in the end it was possible to do it.”

Ukrainska Pravda, another news outlet, is running a similar report.

Broadcaster Suspilne quoted a navy spokesman as saying he had no such information. Ukrainian officials did not immediately comment on the incident.

07:36 AM BST

‘Consequences of the Kerch Bridge attack will be short-lived’

The chairman of Crimea’s state council has said that disruption to the Kerch Bridge will be short-lived, accusing Ukraine of launching a “terrorist attack”.

Vladimir Konstantinov said on Telegram: “Last night the terrorist regime in Kyiv committed a new crime: it attacked the Crimean bridge.

“I am sure that the consequences of the terrorist attack will be promptly eliminated.”

07:15 AM BST

Some claimed bridge images show drivers braking and twisted metal

Reuters images from the scene early today showed no traffic crossing the 12-mile road and rail Kerch bridge.

Unverified imagery showed twisted metal barriers, debris and a damaged car on the bridge. Dash-cam footage showed drivers braking sharply shortly after the incident. The extent of the damage was not immediately clear.

Russian officials called it an “emergency” situation. Russia’s Grey Zone channel, a Telegram channel affiliated with the Wagner mercenary group, reported there were two strikes on the bridge.

The Crimean peninsula has been a cherished vacation destination for Russians, especially after Moscow launched its invasion on Ukraine in 2022 and travelling to the West became much more difficult for Russians.

In recent weeks, traffic jams to the entrance of the bridge went for kilometres on daily basis as Russians went on holidays.

On Monday morning the traffic jam ran for kilometres before police directed vehicles away from the bridge. Social media accounts showed cars lined up on the bridge and its entrance.

07:09 AM BST

Video shows the bridge scene after the ‘incident’

The East European media outlet Nexta has tweeted this video of the Kerch bridge damage.

07:02 AM BST

Rail traffic still open on bridge, says Crimean official

The Russian-installed head of the Crimean parliament said the rail section of the Kerch bridge had not been damaged, denying the peninsula was isolated to the east, and blamed the incident on Ukraine’s “terrorist’’ government.

A train was reported to have left Kerch on the Crimean side for Moscow via the bridge.

The Russian Baza agency also posted this image of damage.

Another image of the road damage on the bridge at Kerch

Another image of the road damage on the bridge between Kerch and the mainland – Baza

06:47 AM BST

Injured girl in intensive care after bridge incident, says hospital

The girl who was injured in an incident on the Crimea Bridge is in intensive care in a hospital in the Russian city of Temryuk, according to RIA Novosti quoting the hospital’s representatives.

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.

06:42 AM BST

Ukraine says its fighters are edging closer to Bakhmut

Ukraine’s government says its forces have recaptured 2.7 square miles in the past week in the direction of the eastern city of Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian forces in May, senior military official said.

Deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar said on the Telegram messaging app that in the past week Ukraine’s troops had made advances every day on the southern flank around Bakhmut and overall during their counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces they have regained an area of about 12 square miles.

06:34 AM BST

Russian news outlet posts first ‘picture of bridge damage’

The Telegram channel Baza, which has ties to Russia’s security services, posted photos showing one lane on the bridge’s roadway torn up and a black car with its front end appearing to be shattered.

Russian news outlet Baza has posted a claimed image of Crimea Bridge damage today on its Telegram page

Russian news outlet Baza has posted a claimed image of Crimea Bridge damage today on its Telegram page. It contains the Baza watermark – Baza

06:29 AM BST

Ukrainian military spokeswoman suggests Russia may be to blame

The event on the bridge could be an act of  “provocation’’ on Moscow’s side, Natalia Humeniuk, the spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern military command, said.

“The creation of such provocations, which the occupying authorities of Crimea report immediately very loudly, is a typical way of solving problems by authorities of Crimea and the aggressor country,” Ms Humeniuk told the national broadcaster Rada.

Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence department, declined to comment directly 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.”

06:21 AM BST

Bridge damage could leave only one ground supply line: analysts

George Barros, an analyst at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War, said on Twitter that if the bridge was seriously damaged it would significantly affect Russian supply lines.

“Russia will only have one ground supply line – the coastal highway on the Sea of Azov – to sustain (or evacuate) its tens of thousands of troops in occupied Kherson & Crimea if UKR [Ukraine] manages to degrade/destroy the bridge,” Mr Barros said.

But local Governor Sergei Aksyonov said he expected rail traffic at least on the bridge to resume within several hours.

06:13 AM BST

Mixed indications on whether a bridge pillar was damaged

Traffic was still stopped from using the Russian-built bridge, said Russian officials. Reuters video showed no traffic on the bridge.

Sergei Aksyonov, a Russia-installed governor, said the emergency occurred on the 145th pillar of the bridge which links the Crimean peninsula to the Russian region of Krasnodar. He did not provide any further details.

Russia’s transport ministry said that there was damage to the road on the bridge closer to the Crimean Peninsula, but there was no damage to the pillars. It did not say what caused the damage.

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

Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Odesa military administration, posted a photo on his Telegram account of what seemed to show part of the bridge broken. It was not immediately clear whether that was related to any attack.

05:53 AM BST

Damage to the bridge may be substantial

Unconfirmed reports are suggesting the damage may take more than a little time to repair.

05:28 AM BST

Key details about the Crimea’s Kerch Bridge

The Kerch bridge was a flagship project for Vladimir Putin, who opened it himself for road traffic with great fanfare by driving a truck across in 2018.

It consists of a separate roadway and railway, both supported by concrete stilts, which give way to a wider span held by steel arches at the point where ships pass between the Black Sea and the smaller Azov Sea.

The structure was built, at a reported cost of $3.6 billion, by a firm belonging to Arkady Rotenberg, a close ally and former judo partner of Putin.

The bridge is crucial for the supply of fuel, food and other products to Crimea, where the port of Sevastopol is the historic home base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

It also became a major supply route for Russian forces after Moscow invaded Ukraine, sending forces from Crimea to seize most of southern Ukraine’s Kherson region and some of the adjoining Zaporizhzhia province.

05:26 AM BST

Roadway damaged on bridge

The roadway on the Crimean bridge has been damaged, Russian state news agency TASS cited the transport ministry as saying.

The damage is on the roadway that is closer to the Crimea Peninsula, TASS reported.

The bridge spanning the Kerch Strait was damaged in October by a truck bomb and required months of repairs before resuming full service.

05:24 AM BST

Do not travel on bridge, residents told

Residents have been told to refrain from travelling on the Crimea’s Kerch bridge due to the “emergency situation”.

Crimea governor Sergey Aksyonov wrote on Telegram: “Traffic was stopped on the Crimean bridge: an emergency occurred in the area of the 145th pillar from the Krasnodar Territory.

“Law enforcement agencies and all relevant services are working… measures are being taken to handle the situation.”

05:19 AM BST

Welcome to today’s live blog

Good morning.

An ‘emergency’ situation is unfolding on Crimea’s Kerch Bridge that links Russia to the Crimean peninsula, with reports of explosions this morning.

Follow our live blog today to read the latest news.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 1 month, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US-exclusive offer.

Leave a Comment