MOSCOW, Russia — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday blamed Ukrainian secret services for the huge blast a day earlier that ripped through Russia’s Crimea bridge, which he described as a “terrorist act.”
“The authors, perpetrators and sponsors are the Ukrainian secret services,” Putin said during a meeting with the chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, according to a video shared by the Kremlin.
“There is no doubt this is a terrorist act aimed at destroying critical Russian civilian infrastructure,” Putin added.
Bastrykin said he had opened a criminal case into an act of terrorism.
Bastrykin said Ukrainian special services and citizens of Russia and other countries took part in the act.
“We have already established the route of the truck” that Russian authorities have said set off a bomb and explosion on the bridge, he said. Bastrykin said the truck had been to Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, North Ossetia, Krasnodar (a region in southern Russia) and other places.
A truck bomb on Saturday ignited a massive fire on the road and rail link between Russia and the annexed Crimea peninsula, killing three people.
Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the explosion.
The bridge is logistically crucial for Moscow — a vital transport link for carrying military equipment to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.
It is also hugely symbolic. Putin personally inaugurated the structure in 2018 — even driving a truck across it — and Moscow had maintained the link was safe despite the fighting.