Two people killed in Russian Crimean Bridge emergency as explosions reported - what happened explained
The emergency in Russia's Belgorod region occurred in the early hours of Monday (17 July) morning
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Vladimir Putin has vowed that there will be a response to the "terrorist attack" on a bridge linking Russia to Crimea, in which two people were killed.
The bridge, which is known as Kerch Bridge as it crosses the Kerch stait, was attacked for the second time throughout the war in the early hours of Monday (17 July) morning. Russia was quick to blame Ukraine for the attack on the bridge, which has been vital in Moscow's operation during the occupation of Crimea and southern Ukraine.
Speaking to his security cabinet in the Kremlin following the explosion, Putin said: "This is a senseless crime in a military point of view as the bridge hasn't been used for military transportation for a long time, and it is cruel because innocent civilians have been killed.
He continued: "Russia's response will follow."
Confirming the news on Telegram, the head of Russian administration in Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov said: "Traffic was stopped on the Crimean bridge. An emergency occurred in the area of the 145th support from the [Russia side of the bridge]. Measures are being taken to restore the situation. I ask residents and guests of the peninsula to refrain from traveling through the Crimean bridge and, for security reasons, choose an alternative land route through new regions."
Vyacheslav Gladkov, who is the governor of the western Russian region of Belgorod, has revealed the victims of the tragedy are linked to the same family. The two who have died are a mother and father, while their daughter is receiving urgent medical treatment.
It is believed that the equipment used in the explosion included unmanned water-based drones. Ukraine has already used such weapons against Russian ships throughout the ongoing conflict.
Transport officials have said that the explosion is deemed to have not damaged the bridge's supports and that only the road surface has been affected. This has led to the closure of the ferry crossing that runs parallel, as well as causing disruption to train travel.
While Russia has laid the blame at the door of Ukraine, Kyiv has not officially denied that they were behind the attack. When asked about the origin of the explosions, a source from Ukraine's security service told the BBC that Kyiv was behind the attack, adding: "All details regarding the explosion will be announced after the victory."
The Kerch Bridge was first opened in 2018 enabling road and rail travel between Russia and Crimea, a Ukrainian territory held by Moscow forces since 2014. It was partially closed last October after a major explosion which Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of attacking the bridge in an "act of terrorism".