Blasts Day After Putin’s Bridge Charge

Explosions rock Kiev after Putin accuses Ukraine of attacking bridge.

Kyiv:

A series of loud explosions shook the Ukrainian capital Kiev early Monday morning, a day after Moscow blamed Ukraine for a deadly explosion on the bridge connecting Crimea to Russia.

The Ukrainian presidency said on Monday there were strikes in “many” cities in Ukraine, a day after Moscow blamed Kiev for an explosion on a bridge connecting Crimea to Russia.

“Ukraine is under attack by missiles. There is information about strikes in many cities of our country,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president’s office, said on social media, calling on the population to “stay in shelters”.

The explosions hit Kiev around 8.15 am local time (0515 GMT), and an AFP journalist in the city saw numerous ambulances heading towards the blast site. Kiev heard at least five explosions on Monday morning.

“Several explosions in Shevchenkivskyi district, in the center of the capital,” Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko said on social media.

Videos posted on social media show black smoke rising over various parts of the city.

Russia’s last attack on Kiev took place on June 26.

The explosions came a day after Moscow blamed Ukraine for the explosion on a bridge connecting Crimea to Russia that killed three people.

“The authors, perpetrators and sponsors are the Ukrainian secret services,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said of Saturday’s Crimean bombing, which he described as an “act of terrorism”.

Vladimir Putin spoke during a meeting with the head of the commission of inquiry he has set up to investigate the bombing, Russian news agencies reported.

The Russian leader is gearing up to meet with his Security Council later Monday, the Kremlin told local news agencies.

“Tomorrow, the president has a scheduled meeting with the permanent members of the Security Council,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The blast that hit the bridge sparked celebrations from Ukrainians and others on social media.

But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not directly mention the incident in his overnight address on Saturday, and officials in Kiev have claimed no direct responsibility.

On Saturday, Russia said some road and rail traffic had resumed over the strategic link, a symbol of the Kremlin’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

The 19-kilometer-long bridge is an essential supply link between Russia and the annexed Crimean peninsula.

Some military analysts argue that the blast could have a major impact if Moscow sees the need to move already heavily pressured troops from other regions into Crimea — or if it prompts residents to leave.

Mick Ryan, a retired Australian senior officer now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said that even if Kiev was not behind the explosion, it “marked a huge victory for Ukraine.

“It is a demonstration for Russians and the rest of the world that the Russian military cannot protect any of the provinces it has recently annexed,” he said on Twitter.

‘Relentless strikes’

President Zelensky, meanwhile, denounced a Russian rocket attack on Sunday that killed at least 13 people, including a child, in Zaporizhzhya, the latest deadly bombing raid on the city in southern Ukraine.

The attack also injured 89 people, including 11 children, according to a statement from the president’s office.

Volodymyr Zelensky described the “relentless attacks on peaceful people” and residential buildings as “absolute evil” perpetrated by “savages and terrorists”.

Regional official Oleksandr Starukh posted photos of badly damaged apartment buildings on Telegram and said a rescue operation had been launched to find victims under the rubble.

Russian officials, meanwhile, on Sunday denounced what they believe was a wave of Ukrainian fire on its territory that had hit homes, administrative buildings and a monastery.

Russia’s FBS, which is responsible for border security, said on Sunday: “Since the beginning of October, the number of attacks by Ukrainian armed formations on Russia’s border area has increased significantly.”

More than a hundred artillery strikes, concentrated on the western border regions of Belgorod, Bryansk and Kursk, had hit homes and administrative buildings, the statement said.

One person was killed and five others were injured in the attacks.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)

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