Putin labels Crimea bridge explosion terrorist attack by Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday the explosion of a bridge linking mainland Russia to Crimea was the result of a terrorist attack by Ukraine's special services.
What they're saying: "Putin accuses Ukraine of terrorism? Sounds too cynical even for Russia," tweeted Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, condemning Russian forces for deadly missile strikes on Zaporizhzhia apartments over the weekend.
"No, there is only one state terrorist and the whole world knows who he is."— Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Driving the news: Putin made the accusation during a video meeting with Alexander Bastrykin, the chair of Russia’s Investigative Committee, who said he had opened a criminal case looking into the matter as an act of terrorism.
Details: "There is no doubt. This is an act of terrorism aimed at destroying critically important civilian infrastructure," Putin said in the video, per a Reuters translation."This was devised, carried out and ordered by the Ukrainian special services."
- Bastrykin implied that citizens of other countries — including Russians — had participated in the attack, according to AP.
- He said Russian authorities had already determined the route of the truck responsible for the explosion, adding that it had traveled to Georgia, Armenia, Bulgaria, North Ossetia and part of southern Russia called Krasnodar, among other places.
The big picture: The Kerch bridge, a longtime symbol of Putin's claim to the Crimean Peninsula, serves as a critical supply route for Russia's troops in Ukraine.
- In the aftermath of the bridge's explosion, Russia has rushed to reestablish supply lines to Crimea.
- While Ukrainian officials acknowledged the bridge's explosion on Saturday, Ukraine did not claim responsibility for the attack.
Between the lines: "This incident will likely touch President Putin closely; it came hours after his 70th birthday, he personally sponsored and opened the bridge, and its construction contractor was his childhood friend, Arkady Rotenberg," noted the British Ministry of Defense in an intelligence update on the bridge.
- "In recent months, Putin's former bodyguard, now commander of the Russian National Guard, Viktor Zolatov, has provided public assurances about the security of the bridge."
What we're watching: Putin's remarks come ahead of a planned meeting with his national security council on Monday.
Editor's note: This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.