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Russia detains 8 in connection with Crimea bridge blast

The Oct. 8, 2021 explosion on the Kerch Bridge connecting Russia to Crimea. (Screenshot)
October 14, 2022

Russia’s FSB Federal Security Service has detained eight people in connection with the truck bomb that detonated on Russia’s Kerch Bridge in Crimea last week.

On Wednesday, the FSB announced it had detained five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia. The FSB further alleged that the group of bridge bombers was organized at the direction of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, its head Kirill Budanov and other agents and employees.

On Saturday, a truck carrying explosives drove onto the westbound lane of the Kerch Bridge, which connects Russia to Crimea. The explosives detonated as the truck traveled across the bridge, damaging the bridge and setting fire to a nearby railway on the bridge.

The explosion killed four people in a car also driving on the bridge.

Ukrainian government officials have appeared to celebrate the bridge bombing without directly claiming responsibility for the act.

“Crimea, the bridge, the beginning,” tweeted Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday. “Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything belonging to the Russian occupation must be expelled.”

On Saturday, Zelenskyy appeared to allude to the bombing in an address saying it “was a good and mostly sunny day” in Ukrainian territory but “unfortunately, it was cloudy in Crime,” the New York Times reported.

The FSB said it had tracked the movement of the explosives used all the way back to early August. The Russian agency said the explosives were hidden inside in rolls of construction polyethylene film on 22 pallets, weighing about 25 tons and were shipped from the Ukrainian port city of Odessa to the Bulgarian city of Ruse.

From Bulgaria, the FSB said the explosives passed through Armenia and Georgia and then crossed from Georgia into Russia.

The FSB identified multiple suspects involved in moving the explosives, including Ukrainians Tsyurkalo Mikhail Vladimirovich, Kovach Denis Olegovich and Solomko Roman Ivanovich. The agency further described the involvement of a Georgian national named Inosaridze Sandro, a broker named “Levan” and an Armenian national name Terchanyan Artur.

Allegedly overseeing the explosives smuggling effort was a member of the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate identified as “Ivan Ivanovich.”

The FSB said it’s continuing to investigate the attack and “all its organizers and accomplices, including foreign citizens, will be held accountable in accordance with Russian law.”

On Monday, Russian forces began a new wave of heavy missile attacks in Ukraine, targeting the energy and water supply and other critical infrastructure around the country.