by Zero hedge

Update (Sunday): Following meetings with his top security officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that Ukrainian intelligence is behind the deadly attack on the Crimean Bridge.

According to  the head of the national Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin, the attack was organized by the Ukrainian security services, which were “aided” by some Russian and foreign nationals.

“The authors, perpetrators and sponsors are the Ukrainian secret services,” Putin said during a meeting with the head of the investigation committee, according to a video shared by the Kremlin.

“There is no doubt this is a terrorist act aimed at destroying critical Russian civilian infrastructure,” Putin added.

The Investigative Committee head also said that the Federal Security Service (FSB) had identified the suspects that were involved in the attack.

“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,” the UK Defence Ministry said in a daily update on Twitter. 

Notably the bridge is already partly operational:

 “The explosion will not permanently disrupt critical Russian lines to Crimea, but will likely increase friction in Russian logistics,” said analysts at the Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank. 

Kiev hasn’t officially taken responsibility for the Kerch incident, although it commemorated the explosion within hours with a new postage stamp and Zelensky’s aide, Mikhail Podoliak, posted on Twitter saying the explosion is “the beginning.”

“Crimea, the bridge, the beginning. Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled,” he wrote in English.

How long before western media begin to gaslight the world into somehow blaming Putin for blowing up his own major supply chain?

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Update(1435ET): Russia’s state Investigative Committee has put out a statement saying at least three civilians died as a result of the attack on the Crimean Bridge, which was likely a fertilizer-laden truck bombing. “According to preliminary data, three people died as a result of the incident. They were presumably passengers of a car, which was near the exploded track. As of now, the bodies of a man and a women have been recovered from the water, their identities are being established,” the committee said. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova at the same time blasted what she called the “criminal logic” of some NATO officials who are positively cheering the attack.

Ukrainian government sources have owned up to the attack, but this claim of responsibility stopped short of being made publicly or officially: “A Ukrainian government official told The Washington Post that the country’s special services were behind the attack, though Kyiv stopped short of saying it was responsible — even as top officials taunted Moscow.” As for the taunting and trolling, the official Twitter account for the government of Ukraine also tweeted out:

A fire which had raged for hours at the scene, particularly freight which had been on the rail part of the bridge that had burned out of control, now appears to be out – allowing Russian investigators to view the full extent of the damage.

A large section of bridge which has been vital to Russian military supply lines has been totally collapsed, with entire sections of roadway having fallen into the water below.

One or two lanes of the bridge weren’t directly impacted, with reports that this section of bridge has already resumed traffic, with the Kremlin saying ferry traffic is to assist in transporting more.

In the aftermath of the major attack on Russian infrastructure, there’s growing speculation that President Vladimir Putin could be poised to declare full war on Ukraine, escalating far past the currently dubbed “special operation”. Some prominent Russian politicians are loudly calling for an equal response to Ukraine’s own “declaration of war” in the attack, according to state media sources: 

“The terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge is no longer just a challenge, but a declaration of war without rules,” said Russia’s State Duma on October 8 after an explosion rocked the Kerch Strait crossing earlier this morning.

Speaking to RIA Novosti, Deputy Oleg Morozov said that the explosion was “a blatant terrorist war is being waged against us.”

…if there is no “adequate” response, such acts of aggression would be more likely to occur. “If we keep silent in response and do not give an adequate response, such terrorist attacks will multiply,” he said.

At the same time, many war observers are wondering, is this the start of Zelensky’s declared intent to take back Crimea? 

By all appearances, Putin is preparing for greater escalation in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, and after weeks of reports and indicators that Russian lines are being rapidly pushed back in the east and south amid the major Ukraine counteroffensive. On Saturday a new overall commander for Russian forces in Ukraine has been announced. “Russia has appointed a notorious general who opened fire on pro-democracy protesters in the 1990s as its first overall commander for the war in Ukraine, as the Kremlin struggles to halt a Ukrainian counteroffensive that has left its forces in disarray,” The Guardian writes.

The appointment of Gen Sergei Surovikin came on the same day as Vladimir Putin was dealt a humiliating blow after an explosion on the Kerch bridge sank a section of the motorway into the Kerch Strait and caused a major fire on the railway,” the publication confirmed. “Surovikin is a veteran commander who led the Russian military expedition in Syria in 2017, where he was accused of using ‘controversial’ tactics including indiscriminate bombing against anti-government fighters.”

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Russian authorities said that an explosion involving a truck on Saturday caused a fire and destroyed a section of a bridge linking Russia and Crimea. The bridge is regarded as a key supply route for Russian troops in southern Ukraine.

The Crimean Bridge – also called Kerch Strait Bridge or Kerch Bridge – is a structure 19 kilometers (12 miles) in length that passes across the Kerch Strait and links southern Russia to the Crimean Peninsula. The Kerch Strait links the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

The Epoch Times’ Mimi Nguyen reports that a truck exploded on the bridge around 6 a.m. local time. Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee announced that the explosion caused a fire on the parallel rail section, where seven railway cars carrying fuel caught fire. The blast also caused a “partial collapse of two sections of the bridge.”

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