Ukraine has claimed responsibility for an attack on a crucial bridge linking Russia to the annexed Crimean Peninsula, a Ukrainian official said Monday.
The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and Ukraine’s naval forces worked in a joint operation to strike the bridge with naval surface drones before dawn on Monday, The Washington Post reported. The 12-mile bridge is considered a key element of Russia’s transportation and supply line that links occupied Crimea to mainland Russia.
Two strikes resulting in explosions were reported at approximately 3 a.m. local time, Russian military bloggers wrote on Telegram. The bridge is still supported on its spans, but damaged sections appear to be cracked and sloping downward, the Post reported. Traffic headed onto the bridge came to a standstill, and railway traffic was halted for approximately six hours, according to The Associated Press.
Two people were killed and a third was injured, according to the AP.
Russian officials called the strike a “terrorist attack” and vowed retaliation against Ukrainian “decision-making centers.”
“Tonight, the terrorist regime in Kyiv committed a new crime – they attacked the Crimean bridge,” said Vladimir Konstantinov, Russia’s Crimean parliament speaker in a Telegram statement. “In retaliation – we will follow the news. Our Secretary of Defense has promised strikes against criminal decision-making centers.”
Russia also halted a U.N.-brokered deal hours after the attack that allowed Ukraine to export grain by sea to countries in the Middle East and Africa. The deal’s suspension could drive up food prices around the globe, especially in third-world countries, according to the AP.
Russian officials said the suspension is unrelated to the bridge attack on Monday.
“The Black Sea agreements are no longer in effect. The deadline, as the Russian president said earlier, is July 17. Unfortunately, the part of the Black Sea agreement that concerns Russia has not yet been fulfilled,” said Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov to TASS. “As a result, it has been terminated. As soon as the Russian part [of the deal] is fulfilled, the Russian side will immediately return to the implementation of this deal.”
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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