Home World Ukraine celebrates bombings on a key bridge between Russia and Crimea

Ukraine celebrates bombings on a key bridge between Russia and Crimea

The damage to a key bridge connecting Crimea to Russia has sparked a wave of social media memes and trolling by some of Ukraine’s top officials.
Dramatic footage showed the 19-kilometer-long Kerch Bridge on fire, parts of which fell into the water on Saturday.
The bridge, the longest in Europe, crosses the strait between the Black and Azov seas. It is of crucial logistical importance to Moscow as a vital transport link for the delivery of military equipment to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

It is also an important symbol of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. President Vladimir Putin personally opened the bridge in 2018 — even driving a truck over it — and Moscow has maintained that the crossing was safe despite the fighting.

Among those who laughed at the turn of events was the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, who tweeted footage of the explosion along with a video clip of Marilyn Monroe’s infamous song “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”

It was an obvious reference to Putin’s 70th birthday on Friday.

The Ukrainian post office also joined in, announcing that it was preparing to print a stamp with the image of the “Crimean Bridge – or rather, what’s left of it.”

A picture in the center of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev in the form of a large stamp showing two fiery explosions on a bridge attracted Ukrainians to take selfies.

The work was called “Cotton to the Crimean Bridge” and was created by V. Andrusiv, O. Serdyukov, Yu. Kalinovskaya and M. Visich, according to Getty.

A couple takes a selfie in front of an artwork in the form of a large stamp titled “Cotton to the Crimean Bridge”. Source: Getty / SIERHEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Ukraine’s National Railway Service also added its own twist, reminding people not to smoke on trains with a tweet featuring a burning bridge against a no-smoking symbol.

“Not a bad day”: the president of Ukraine

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, did not directly mention the bridge in his night address, and officials did not take responsibility. But he seemed to have this incident in mind when he spoke about the “sunny” future of Ukrainians.
“Today was not a bad day and it is mostly sunny on the territory of our country,” he said. “Unfortunately, it was cloudy in Crimea. Although it was also warm.”
He also stated that Ukraine wants a future “without occupiers throughout our territory, particularly in Crimea.”
Earlier, his adviser Mikhail Padalyak published a photo of a half-flooded long section of the bridge on Twitter.
“Crimea, the bridge, the beginning,” he wrote.

“Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled.”

But in a later statement, he suggested that Moscow had a hand in the explosion.
“It should be noted that the truck that detonated, according to all indications, drove onto the bridge from the Russian side. So the answers should be sought in Russia,” he said.
Russian authorities also said they had identified the truck’s owner, a resident of Russia’s southern Krasnodar region, saying his home was being searched.

Local officials later said it was reopened to vehicular traffic with vehicles subject to strict controls. Shortly thereafter, the Grand Service Express company, which provides rail services here, reported that the first trains had left the peninsula for Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Calls for retribution

Russian authorities said the explosion killed three people. A representative of the Kremlin said that Putin ordered the creation of a commission to investigate the explosion.

Officials in Moscow did not blame Kyiv, but a Russian-appointed official in Crimea pointed the finger at “Ukrainian vandals.”

Some officials in Moscow and the Russian-occupied Ukraine called for retaliation.
“There is an open terrorist war against us,” said Oleg Morozov, a deputy from the ruling party of Russia, to the RIA Novosti agency.
Kirill Stremusov, a Russian-appointed official in the occupied Ukrainian Kherson region, said: “Everyone is expecting a retaliatory strike, and it will probably happen.”
Military analysts said the explosion could have serious consequences if Moscow saw the need to redeploy troops from other regions already in dire straits, or if it forced residents to leave Crimea in a hurry.
Mick Ryan, a retired Australian major general who now works at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said that even if Ukrainians were not behind the blast, it represented “a huge victory for Ukraine in the influence operation.”

“This is a demonstration to the Russians and the rest of the world that the Russian military cannot defend any of the recently annexed provinces,” he wrote on Twitter.


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