Russia-Ukraine updates: Crimean bridge fire caused by truck bomb | News | DW

 Russia-Ukraine updates: Crimean bridge fire caused by truck bomb | News | DW

Russian anti-terrorism officials said that a large fire on the bridge linking Russia and Crimea was caused by an exploding truck. The fire has now been extinguished, Russian emergency services told Interfax agency. While traffic on the bridge is blocked and trains are delayed, the ferry service will start operating soon on Saturday.

The blast “set fire to seven oil tankers being carried by rail to Crimea,” Russian news agencies cited the national anti-terrorism committee as saying. Russia has launched a criminal investigation into the event.

“According to preliminary information a fuel tank was on fire on one of the sections of the Crimean bridge, the shipping arches are not damaged,” RIA reported citing a local official. The tank was being pulled by a train. There have been no deaths or injuries reported so far.

The road running along that part of the bridge was also badly damaged, according to the reports. The Crimean city of Simferopol announced that they were considering putting in place a ferry connection.

Here is more news from or concerning the war in Ukraine on Saturday, October 8

Top Crimean lawmaker blames ‘Ukrainian vandals’

Crimean parliament head Vladimir Konstantinov said the bridge was damaged by “Ukrainian vandals.”

“They now have something to be proud of: for 23 years of their economic management they did not manage to build anything worthy of attention in Crimea, but they managed to damage the floor of the Russian bridge,” he added on his Telegram channel.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the creation of a committee, probing into the causes of the explosion. The committee said it had sent detectives to the scene.

Dramatic videos on social media showed the giant bridge on fire and partially collapsed into the sea.

The Kerch bridge is 19 kilometers long (11.8 miles) and was built by Russia after it declared Crimea to be Russian territory in 2014.

IMF approves funds of $1.3 billion for Ukraine

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday approved additional emergency funding of $1.3 billion (€1.33 billion), to help Ukraine’s economy.

The funding comes from a new emergency lending program, and will help Ukraine curb financial losses, including the loss of grain export revenues.

“The scale and intensity of Russia’s war against Ukraine that started more than seven months ago have caused tremendous human suffering and economic pain,” the IMF said. The organization also praised Ukraine’s government for maintaining financial stability during a challenging period.

The IMF said the Ukrainian economy is forecast to contract by 35% in 2022.

Kharkiv rock explosions just after midnight

Explosions were reported in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv in the early hours of Saturday sending plumes of smoke into the sky. A secondary round of explosions was heard after the first blasts.

It was not immediately known what caused the blasts. However, Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov wrote on Telegram that missile strikes had hit a medical facility and a commercial building.

A plume of fire and smoke rises in the night sky

Footage of an explosion in Kharkiv seen overnight Saturday

Russia-backed forces claim new victories in Donetsk

Russian-backed proxy forces said they had captured territory in Donetsk in the east of Ukraine.

Separatist forces said they had captured several villages near Bakhmut, an industrial town that has been subjected to weeks of Russian shelling.

AFP journalists in Bakhmut reported hearing heavy artillery and rocket launch systems.

The claims of new gains come as the Russian military, along with fighters from self-declared “republics” in eastern Ukraine, have been confronted with a Ukrainian counteroffensive that has pushed Russian forces out of territory in the east and south.

Late Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukrainian forces “this week alone” liberated 776 square kilometers of territory in Ukraine’s east and 29 settlements, including six in the Luhansk region.

Mass burial site found near Lyman, Ukraine says

Ukrainian authorities said Friday that a mass grave has been uncovered near the eastern town of Lyman following the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko announced the discovery in a post on his Telegram channel along with images of crosses and crews in protective white suits digging through mounds of soil.

Kyrylenko said the victims could be both soldiers and civilians, and that exhumations were ongoing, as is an investigation into the number of victims.

Separate from the mass grave, Kyrylenko said 200 individual graves “where civilians are buried” were also uncovered in the area.

Lyman, a strategically important town located in the eastern Donetsk region, was liberated Saturday from Russian occupation.

Ukrainian officials have said Russian forces occupying Ukrainian territory have routinely committed rights abuses and atrocities.

Moscow denies the allegations despite mounting evidence of a Russian role in the torture and death of thousands of Ukrainians following occupation by Russian forces.

Before Kyrylenko’s announcement Friday, Ukrainian First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Yevhen Yenin said that 530 bodies of civilians have been found in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv
region since September 7.

Most of the bodies were among the 436 exhumed from unmarked graves following the Russian withdrawal from the northeastern town of Izium.

Many of those bodies displayed injuries consistent with violent deaths, according to local officials.

Zelenskyy rules out ‘preemptive’ strikes on Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday evening appeared to roll back statements he made Thursday calling for “preemptive strikes” to prevent Russia from using nuclear weapons.

The Kremlin quickly responded, accusing the Ukrainian president of fomenting calls for nuclear war.

In an interview with the BBC, Zelenskyy said the West “must use preventive kicks, not attacks,” apparently referring to using sanctions as a deterrence.

Zelenskyy also warned Russia has begun to prepare its citizens for the potential use of a small tactical nuclear weapon.

“They begin to prepare their society. That’s very dangerous,” Zelenskyy said.

More DW content on the war in Ukraine

In an opinion piece, DW’s Miodrag Soric says the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize winners focusing on civil rights in Russia is a “slap in the face” for Vladimir Putin.

In an exclusive interview with DW, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto rejected the need for Pakistan to take sides in the Ukraine conflict.

And DW also takes a look at who is supplying Russia with drones.

ar/wmr,dj (Reuters, AP, dpa, AFP)

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