KYIV — Ukrainian officials mocked Russia on Saturday, without directly claiming responsibility, after a vehicle bomb damaged a key bridge built as Moscow’s sole land link with annexed Crimea.
The Kerch bridge, personally inaugurated by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018, is a vital transport link for carrying military equipment to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.
Moscow said a vehicle had exploded and ignited a huge fire, killing three and setting ablaze seven oil tankers transported by train and collapsing two car lanes of the giant road and rail structure.
Dramatic social media footage showed the bridge on fire with parts plunging into the sea.
Officials in Moscow vowed to find the culprits, but stopped short of immediately blaming Kyiv.
No Ukrainian official has claimed direct responsibility for the blast, which came after Putin celebrated his 70th birthday on Friday.
But prior to the announcement of the casualties, some cracked jokes at Moscow’s expense.
The Ukrainian post office announced it was preparing to print stamps showing the “Crimean bridge — or more precisely, what remains of it.”
The post office said the images would draw on classic film posters to highlight the bridge’s “sacred significance” to Moscow.
Boss Igor Smelyansky posted a design for the new stamps on Facebook — one depicting an explosion on the structure.
Given today‘s news, @ukrposhta is issuing stamp “Crimean Bridge – Done” and envelop with Crimea breaking handcuffs with russia. Coming soon online and in our stores @OlKubrakov pic.twitter.com/xF2Iew3Zeq
— Igor Smelyansky (@smelyansky_igor) October 8, 2022
Ukraine’s defense ministry compared the attack to the one that sank the Russian cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea in April — an event the post office has already celebrated by printing special stamps.
“The guided missile cruiser Moskva and the Kerch Bridge – two notorious symbols of Russian power in Ukrainian Crimea –- have gone down. What’s next in line, Russkies?
During the first days of the war, the Moskva was reportedly the ship that called on Ukrainian soldiers stationed on Snake Island in the Black Sea to surrender in a standoff. In a widely circulated recording, a soldier responded: “Russian warship, go fuck yourself.”
The secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, posted a video on Twitter with the Kerch Bridge on fire on the left side and video with Marilyn Monroe singing her famous “Happy Birthday Mr. President” on the right.
Доброго ранку, Україно! ???????? pic.twitter.com/UQMI6LheSR
— Oleksiy Danilov (@OleksiyDanilov) October 8, 2022
Meanwhile, the security services (SBU) repurposed verses by Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko about “the sun rising on the burning bridge.”
“Today is a perfect opportunity to revise some of Taras Shevchenko’s poems,” the SBU said on Telegram.