Traffic on a key military supply bridge connecting Crimea to Russia’s mainland came to a standstill Monday after one of its sections was blown up, killing two people and wounding their daughter. Russian officials blamed the attack on Ukraine, but Kyiv officials didn’t openly admit it.

The strike on the 19-kilometer (12-mile) Kerch Bridge was carried out by two Ukrainian sea drones, Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee said.

Ukrainian officials didn’t claim responsibility for the attack, which is the second major strike on the bridge since October, when a truck bomb blew up two of its sections.

The bridge is a conspicuous symbol of Moscow’s claims on Crimea and an essential land link to the peninsula, which Russia captured from Ukraine in 2014. The $3.6 billion bridge is the longest in Europe and is crucial for enabling Russia’s military operations in southern Ukraine during the almost 17-month-long war.

Russia has expanded its presence in Crimea since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Occasional acts of sabotage and other attacks against Russian military and other facilities on the peninsula have occurred since, with the Kremlin blaming Ukraine.

The attack on the bridge comes as Ukrainian forces are trying to press a counteroffensive in several sections of the front line. It also happened just hours before Russia, as expected, announced it is halting a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey that allows the export of Ukrainian grain during the war.

Natalia Humeniuk, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian military’s Southern Command, said the explosions on the bridge could be a Russian provocation. But Ukrainian Ukrainska Pravda and RBC Ukraine news outlets said the attack was planned jointly by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the Ukrainian Navy and involved sea drones.

Kyiv didn’t initially acknowledge responsibility for last October’s bombing either, but a senior Ukrainian official eventually confirmed it.

In what appeared to be an indirect acknowledgment of Ukraine’s involvement in Monday’s explosion, Ukrainian Security Service spokesman Artem Degtyarenko said in a statement that details of what happened would be revealed after Ukraine has won the war.

“In the meantime, we are watching with interest how one of the symbols of the Putin regime once again failed to withstand the military load,” he said.

Video posted by Crimea 24 online news channel showed a section of the bridge tilted and hanging down, but there was no indication any portion had fallen into the water.

Russia’s Belgorod region Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said the attack killed a married couple from the region and their daughter was hospitalized with serious injuries.

Russian authorities said the attack didn’t affect the piers but damaged the decking in a section of one of the two road links. The damage appeared less serious than in October’s attack that took months to repair.

Rail traffic resumed later Monday morning after being halted for about six hours, and authorities said they were considering plans to use the undamaged road section of the bridge for traffic traveling in both directions alternately.

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

The Security Service of Ukraine posted a redacted version of a popular lullaby, tweaked to say that the bridge “went to sleep again.”


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