- Traffic was stopped on the Crimean Bridge
- State of emergency – Russian authorities
- Ukrainian media reported the bombings
- The grain deal has expired
July 17 (Reuters) – Traffic on the Russian-built Crimean bridge has been halted due to an “emergency” situation, authorities in Russia said on Monday, while Ukrainian media reported explosions on the bridge.
Russian-installed governor Sergei Aksyonov said the emergency occurred at pier 145 of the bridge connecting the Crimean peninsula with the Russian territory of Krasnodar. He did not give any further details.
RBC-Ukraine news agency reported that an explosion was heard on the bridge.
Crimea was annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014, but is internationally recognized as part of Ukraine.
Russia’s Gray Zone Channel, a Telegram channel affiliated with the Wagner mercenary group, reported two strikes on the bridge at 03:04 am (0004 GMT) and 03:20 am.
Reuters could not independently verify the news. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.
It was not immediately clear what the incident on the bridge meant for the UN-brokered deal allowing safe Black Sea exports of Ukrainian grain. The deal was set to expire on Monday and was still in limbo as of Sunday night.
The 12-mile (19-km) road and rail bridge was damaged in an explosion last October that the Kremlin said was planned by Ukrainian security forces. Ukraine tacitly acknowledged the attack months later.
Both Aksyonov and Krasnodar Region Governor Veniamin Kondratiev said they had set up operational headquarters in their regions to address the bridge emergency.
The peninsula’s Russian-backed administration has provided all necessary supplies to Crimea, but has urged residents not to travel over the bridge.
Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Odesa military administration, posted a photo on his Telegram of a line of the bridge in the distance, broken in the middle.
It was not immediately clear if this was connected to the attack.
Reporting by Lydia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Kim Coghill, Michael Perry and Guy Falconbridge
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