Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has detained five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia in connection with the bombing of the only bridge that connects mainland Russia to the annexes Ukranian region of Crimea, an attack Russia said was masterminded by Ukraine.
Ukraine has not officially confirmed its involvement in the bridge blast on Saturday, but some Ukrainian officials have celebrated the damage and an unidentified Ukrainian official told the New York Times that Kyiv was behind the attack.
The FSB said the attack was organised by Ukrainian military intelligence and its director, Kyrylo Budanov adding to accusations by Russian President Vladimir Putin over what he has called a “terrorist attack” against critical civilian infrastructure.
“The organizer of the terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge was the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, its head Kyrylo Budanov, its employees and agents,” said the FSB on Wednesday, October 12.
The FSB said the explosive device was camouflaged in rolls of construction polyethylene film on 22 pallets with a total weight of 22.7 tonnes, and moved from Ukraine to Russia via Bulgaria, Georgia and Armenia.
“Control over the movement of the cargo along the entire route and contacts with participants in the criminal transportation scheme were carried out by an employee of HUR MO,” the FSB said in a statement, using the acronym for Ukrainian military intelligence.
The 12-mile (19 km) road and rail bridge, a project personally opened by Putin in 2018, had become logistically vital to his military campaign, with supplies to Russian troops fighting in south Ukraine channelled through it.
The explosion wrecked one section of the road bridge, temporarily halting traffic. It also destroyed several fuel tankers on a train heading towards the annexed Crimean peninsula from neighbouring southern Russia.