Crimea bridge: Russia ramps up security after blast

Russia ramped up security on its only bridge to Crimea after a huge blast destroyed sections of it on Saturday.President Vladimir Putin has now ordered the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to oversee the key connector to the occupied peninsula.

The bridge is also a pivotal symbol of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. The blast killed three people, Russian investigators said.Officials said work to fix the damaged sections will begin immediately.

Russia’s deputy prime minister ordered the destroyed parts of the bridge to be taken down immediately, and said divers would begin investigating damage below the waterline on Sunday morning, Russian news agencies report.Hailed by Russian media as “the construction of the century”, the bridge has been crucial to Russia for the movement of military equipment, ammunition and troops into southern Ukraine.But new satellite images released on Saturday showed smoke and fire near the collapsed areas of the 19km (12-mile) bridge, which was opened with much fanfare four years after Moscow annexed Crimea.

Since it plays a strategic role in the war, Ukrainian authorities have said it is a legitimate target, as they vow to retake the peninsula.Ukrainian officials responded with thinly-veiled approval to the explosion – but have not indicated that their forces were behind the attack.

President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged the incident in his nightly address on Saturday, saying: “Today was not a bad day and mostly sunny on our state’s territory.””Unfortunately, it was cloudy in Crimea. Although it was also warm,” he added

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