Day 227 of the Invasion of Ukraine: The Crimean Bridge in Flames
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
The Crimean bridge burst into flames, a part collapsed into the sea. Putin convenes a government commission on the incident
The bridge across the Kerch Strait is on fire, part of it has collapsed into the sea, the facility is closed, and the Russians are trying to organize a ferry link to replace the bridge. Footage of the burning Crimean bridge appeared shortly after the explosion at around 6 a.m. According to initial data, a tanker exploded on the road side, and a little later a train composition exploded on the railway bridge. The facility connects the Russian city of Taman with the Ukrainian Crimea, annexed by Russia.
Another video from the Crimean bridge! Another explosion moment today pic.twitter.com/rMzCnUM8oM— ТРУХА⚡️English (@TpyxaNews) October 8, 2022
"Crimea, the bridge, the beginning. Everything illegal will be destroyed, everything stolen - returned to Ukraine. Everything Russian occupation - expelled" - wrote in Telegram the adviser of Ukrainian
President Volodymyr Zelensky Mykhailo Podolyak. As of 9 a.m. Saturday, this is the only, albeit unofficial, statement from a Kyiv official about the blasts in Crimea.
Крим, міст, початок. Усе незаконне має бути зруйновано, усе вкрадене – повернуто Україні, усе російське окупаційне – вигнане.— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) October 8, 2022
The occupation authorities in Crimea blamed Ukraine for the fire, and the leader of the local occupation parliament declared it an "act of vandalism" by Kyiv.
A security camera captured the alleged moment of the first blast. It happens at a moment when a tanker truck crosses the Crimean bridge, a black car is seen near it, and then flames fill the entire screen. In the railway sector of the facility, the epicenter of the explosion was located above one of the supporting columns.
Traffic on the facility has been completely stopped, but shipping through the Kerch Strait continues. The Russian state news agency TASS reported that there was no damage to the bridge's arches.
"According to preliminary data, a fuel tank is on fire in one of the sections. The arches for the passage of vessels are not affected. It is still too early to talk about the causes and consequences. Efforts are being made to extinguish the fire," wrote local authorities' spokesman Oleg Kryuchkov on his Telegram channel.
"Special forces of Ukraine congratulated in the best way on the occasion of Putin’s 70th birthday. There were lots of fireworks. The Crimean bridge is broken, the railway bridge is completely destroyed, the road bridge - approximately halfway through its length. A brilliant operation of the special forces." This is what the famous Polish military expert Jarosław Wolski, a political scientist, closely studies the processes in Russia and the post-Soviet space, wrote in his Twitter profile.
SZ Ukrainy złożyły Putinowi najlepsze życzenia z okazji 70 urodzin! Było dużo fajerwerków!— Jarosław Wolski (@wolski_jaros) October 8, 2022
Most na Krym zarwany - kolejowy definitywnie zniszczony drogowy minimum w połowie jezdni.
IMHO błyskotliwa operacja sił specjalnych #Ukraina #UkraineRussiaWar #WojnaWUkrainie pic.twitter.com/OYYeY9w1Y4
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced that President Vladimir Putin had been informed about the fire on the Crimean bridge. As the Kremlin spokesman announced, Putin ordered the creation of a government commission to clarify the reasons for the partial destruction of the bridge. The occupation authorities in Crimea have already blamed Ukraine for the explosions and the fire.
The Crimean bridge was opened in 2018, and Vladimir Putin personally opened the facility in a lavish ceremony where the Russian autocrat drove across it. The bridge is the only link between the illegally annexed Crimea and Russia. From the first days of the undeclared war that Russia has been waging since February 24 against Ukraine, Kyiv has declared the bridge a legitimate military target. The bridge, damaged today, is a strategic site for the Kremlin in this war, as it allows the transfer of weapons and manpower to military bases on the peninsula.
Ukrainian forces have retaken 96 settlements since the start of the counteroffensive
Ukrainian forces have regained nearly 2,500 square kilometers of territory and 96 settlements since the start of the counteroffensive, Volodymyr Zelensky announced.
This week alone, the military has liberated 776 square kilometers of territory in the eastern part of the country and 29 settlements, of which 6 are in the Luhansk region, added the Ukrainian president in his regular video address.
In a televised interview with the BBC, Zelensky said that Moscow was not ready to use nuclear weapons, but that it was dangerous to even talk about it. He clarified that his words about a pre-emptive strike against Russia were misunderstood and he did not mean an attack, but sanctions.
At the same time, the situation in Ukraine remains tense. A series of explosions were reported in Kharkiv. A mass grave was discovered in the recently liberated city of Lyman, and it is not known how many bodies are in it.
Ukrainian authorities announced a new mass grave in Lyman
Ukrainian authorities have discovered a mass grave in the recently liberated eastern city of Lyman, and it is not clear how many bodies are in it, Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kirilenko said, as quoted by Reuters.
He wrote on Telegram that authorities in Lyman had discovered "a mass grave where, according to local information, there may be both soldiers and civilians. The exact number is yet to be determined."
According to him, a second cemetery with 200 graves containing the bodies of civilians was also discovered. It is not clear from his statement when and how they died.
"Ukrinform" agency quoted a high-ranking police representative, according to whom there are 180 bodies in the grave. Ukrainian troops regained control of Lyman in the Donetsk region from Russia last Saturday, BTA informs.
Last month, the bodies of 436 people were exhumed from a grave in the northeastern town of Izyum after the town was liberated. Most appeared to have died a violent death, local officials said.
A series of explosions in Kharkiv
A series of explosions rocked the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv shortly after midnight, the Associated Press reported.
The night sky above the city was lit up by flames and plumes of smoke rose from it, followed by a series of secondary explosions.
So far, there are no reports of casualties.
The explosions came as Russia intensified its attacks yesterday on areas it illegally annexed and the death toll from earlier rocket strikes on residential buildings in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia rose to 14, the Associated Press reported.
The Mayor of Kharkiv, Igor Terekhov, reported on the Telegram social network that the explosions in the early morning hours of today were due to rocket strikes that hit one of the city's health facilities, a non-residential building, and other places.
Biden blames Saudi Arabia and Russia for rising natural gas prices
United States President Joe Biden has blamed Saudi Arabia and Russia for rising natural gas prices after OPEC+ embarked on drastic production cuts.
"The price is going up because of what the Russians and the Saudis just did," Biden said during a speech in Maryland.
The president has signaled he is looking for alternatives after OPEC+'s decision to cut global oil production by about 2 million barrels a day. Global oil prices rose more than 10 percent this week following Wednesday's announcement. Biden tried to soften the effect on the US market by authorizing the release of about 10 million barrels from the United States' strategic reserves.
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