At least one explosion has severely damaged the Kerch bridge connecting the annexed Crimean peninsula with the Russian Federation, according to multiple reports.
Early Saturday, the explosion caused parts of Europe’s longest bridge to collapse, according to images and video from the scene (below).
The exact cause of the explosion is unclear.
“The guided missile cruiser Moskva and the Kerch bridge – two notorious symbols of Russian power in Ukrainian Crimea – have gone down,” tweeted Ukraine’s ministry of defense. “What’s next in line, russkies?”
According to CNN, Russian officials said a fuel truck exploded, but two spans of the road crossing in the direction of Crimea appear to have collapsed.
A second fire engulfed a train of fuel trucks on a separate part of the bridge, according to reports.
Images of the Kerch bridge posted on social media appear to show a portion of the roadway of the vehicle and rail bridge had fallen into the waters below it.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov Speaks To Russian Troops, “Let’s Talk About What’s Next”
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov released a video on YouTube Friday, speaking to Russia’s frontline troops to lay down their arms and promising them “life, safety, and justice” to those that heed the warning.
In the video Friday, Reznikov spoke in Russian and warned that “thousands of Russian men will die” as Moscow’s forces continue to suffer losses.
“Let’s talk about what’s next. About your future. After all, you are probably thinking about it,” Reznikov said.
“You know that in Ukraine you are not liberating anyone,” Reznikov said, claiming that Russian armed forces were “deceived and betrayed” when they were sent into Ukraine in February. “Many of you have already understood that you were not sent to die for a just cause. Maybe that’s why your [President] is hiding in a bunker, and not taking a punch next to you. He is afraid of your insight, contempt and your justified anger.”
“Your paratroopers are now dying on the right bank of the Dnipro,” Reznikov said. “You pay in blood for someone’s fantasies and false goals.”
“Our President is with his army. Where is yours?” Reznikov said. “You are destroying entire cities, where quite recently you were considered good neighbors and spoke Russian.”
“You will be remembered as thieves, rapists, and murderers. Thousands of Russian men will die. Even more will be left without hands, without legs,” Reznikov concluded.