Four loud explosions boomed over the eastern Crimean city of Kerch and all traffic was halted on the Crimea Bridge in the morning on Aug. 12, with the bridge becoming enveloped in clouds of white smoke, local Telegram-channels reported.
Soon, there were claims that two sections of the bridge were badly damaged, but the reports of hits on the bridge were unconfirmed, the Crimean Wind Telegram channel said in a posting.
Pictures and videos of the smoke-covered bridge, as well as what appeared to be Russian air defense missiles launching into the sky and perhaps hitting something, quickly began circulating on social media as news of the incident spread.
The Moscow-installed Crimean “governor” Sergei Aksyonov later wrote on Telegram that two missiles were allegedly intercepted over the Kerch Strait, but the Crimea Bridge over the strait was untouched.
Nevertheless, all traffic across the bridge was suspended.
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The smoke visible from Kerch was a “smokescreen”, Aksyonov’s advisor Oleh Kryuchkov said, adding that road and rail traffic on the Crimea Bridge would be restored soon.
After the smokescreen cleared, a column of smoke could still still seen on video posted by the Telegram channel Romanov Lite, which some speculated could be evidence of a missile hitting the bridge.
Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that Ukraine had tried to strike the bridge with an S-200 missile redesigned for attacks. It also claimed to have thwarted the attack with no casualties or damage caused.
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But not long after the first incident, there were reports of more explosions, possibly the sound of Russian air defenses operating, and the bridge again became shrouded in dense white smoke, and it was reported by some Telegram channels that traffic over the bridge had again been halted.
Ukraine has declared it will destroy the Kerch Bridge, which was illegally constructed on Ukrainian territory by Russia. It connects Ukraine’s Crimea, which has been under Russian military occupation since 2014, with Russia.
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