Who is behind this explosion?
It was a key infrastructure as much as a symbol. The Crimean bridge was badly damaged by an explosion on Saturday morning October 8. Russia, which immediately opened a criminal investigation, announced that at least three people had been killed in the explosion. “They are probably the passengers of a car that was near the truck when it exploded”the Russian investigative committee said in a statement, adding that it had identified the driver of the truck bomb.
The head of the Crimean assembly, the regional parliament set up by Russia at the beginning of September, immediately appointed the sponsors, and denounced an act committed by “Ukrainian vandals”. ” The Kyiv regime’s reaction to the damage to civilian infrastructure demonstrates its terrorist nature”added the spokeswoman for Russian diplomacy, Maria Zakharova.
After having multiplied the ironic comments on the explosion, the Ukrainian authorities, for their part, maintained that there was “a russian track”. “It should be noted that the truck that exploded, by all indications, entered the bridge from the Russian side. It is therefore in Russia that we must look for the answers.said President Zelensky’s adviser, Mykhailo Podoliak, in a comment sent by the presidency.
Reached by “La Croix”, General Christophe Gomart, former director of French intelligence, admits his skepticism regarding the explanation of the truck bomb given by Russia. “It is not, in my opinion, certain that the Ukrainian special forces could have carried out, by means of a truck bomb, explosions of this magnitude. We cannot completely rule out the hypothesis of a Ukrainian missile, because Russia does not have absolute control of the sky. »
Why is it a strategic and symbolic infrastructure?
If Ukraine was indeed behind the explosion on the Crimean bridge, it would be a snub for Moscow. Firstly because this bridge is an important infrastructure in the Russian military system: it is used to transport people and goods to Crimea, but also to troops deployed in Ukraine.
Then, because it is of symbolic importance. Inaugurated in 2018, the bridge spans the Kerch Strait, and connects annexed Ukrainian Crimea to Russian territory. It therefore became the symbol of the 2014 annexation. In addition, Russia has always maintained that the bridge is safe despite the fighting in Ukraine. “The affront would even be personal for Vladimir Putin, who himself inaugurated the bridge in 2018, driving the first truck authorized to cross it”, continues Christophe Gomart.
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What response from Moscow should we expect?
At the end of the day on Saturday, the Russian authorities wanted to be reassuring, announcing that car and rail traffic had already been reopened. Two trains left the Crimean peninsula to reach Moscow and Saint-Peterburg, announced the company Grand Service Express.
Thomas Gomart still expects a strong response from Moscow. “This kind of act of war does not go unpunished. The Russian army, whose muscle has appeared shriveled lately, didn’t need that. She will therefore probably attempt a strong reaction. More than the use of the nuclear threat brandished by Joe Biden, one can imagine a bombardment on a city. That of kyiv no longer seems unthinkable to me, even if of course, we must remain very careful at this stage. »
Already, Saturday, October 8, Vladimir Putin dismissed the commander of operations in Ukraine, replacing him with Sergei Surovikin, who until then led the grouping of “South” forces. Because this explosion occurs in a delicate military context for Moscow. Since the beginning of September, Russia has had a series of military setbacks, its troops being forced to retreat both in the northeast and in the south of the country, in particular the region of Kherson, bordering Crimea.
Several explosions have taken place in recent months at Russian military installations on the peninsula, probably the result of Ukrainian military operations, such as when the Djankoi military base was devastated in August by the explosion of an ammunition depot, causing an exodus of tourists from the region.