- A crucial bridge linking Russia and the annexed territory of Crimea collapsed on Saturday morning.
- Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for it, but Ukrainian officials’ tweets hinted it was behind it.
- Ukrainian officials made light of the timing. It happened right after Vladimir Putin’s 70th birthday.
Ukrainian officials have hinted that Ukraine may have sabotaged a crucial bridge linking Russia and the annexed territory of Crimea to spite Russian President Vladimir Putin on his 70th birthday.
A fuel tank explosion on Kerch road-and-rail bridge took place at around 6 a.m. on Saturday while a train was crossing it, causing it to collapse, according to Russian officials.
Putin responded by ordering the government to create a state commission to examine the cause of the Kerch Bridge collapse, TASS news agency reported per Reuters.
The source of the explosion is currently unclear, but a Crimean official was quick to blame Ukraine.
“Ukrainian vandals somehow managed to get their bloody paws on the Crimean bridge,” said Vladimir Konstantinov, chairman of the State Council of Crimea, in a Telegram post.
“Now they have something to be proud of, in 23 years of their economic activity, they did not manage to build anything deserving of interest in Crimea,” the post continued. “But they did succeed in damaging the roadbed of the Russian bridge.”
Ukraine has not directly claimed responsibility for the bridge collapse, but officials hinted at responsibility in a series of mocking tweets.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said on Twitter: “Crimea, the bridge, the beginning. Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled.”
—Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) October 8, 2022
Ukraine’s official Twitter account responded to the bridge collapse with only two words: “sick burn.”
—Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) October 8, 2022
And other Ukrainian officials appeared to link the timing of the bridge collapse with Putin’s 70th birthday.
Putin, who personally opened a stretch of the bridge in 2018, turned 70 yesterday.
Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, posted a video on Twitter of Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” next to footage of the bridge on fire.
“Good morning, Ukraine,” the caption said.
—Oleksiy Danilov (@OleksiyDanilov) October 8, 2022
According to The New York Times investigative reporter Michael Schwirtz, a senior Ukrainian military official said: “Putin should be happy. Not everyone gets such an expensive present on their birthday.”
—Michael Schwirtz (@mschwirtz) October 8, 2022
The 12-mile bridge, which is the longest in Europe, was built after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. According to The Guardian, it was a critical route for carrying military equipment and troops to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.