Moscow, Oct 9 (EFE).- The driver of a truck that allegedly exploded as it crossed the Crimean Bridge, severely damaging the only direct road and rail link between Russia and the occupied peninsula, had received an online order to transport fertilizer, according to Russian media reports.
The Moscow-based RBC newspaper has claimed that the driver had been “used” and was unaware of the alleged “terror attack” that took place Saturday.
The origin of the explosion that collapsed part of the road section of the 19-kilometer (12-mile) bridge is yet to be determined but Russia’s investigative committee and its anti-terrorist committee have both claimed that it was the result of a truck bomb.
The huge blast engulfed seven tankers being hauled by a train on the adjacent rail section of the bridge.
Explosives experts from the local branch of the FSB security services are working to establish the exact cause of the explosion, which killed at least two people according to Russia.
Russian media outlet Mash said the truck allegedly used to carry out the explosion was checked by security agents before it crossed the bridge.
Mash also claimed that the vehicle was driven by a 52-year-old man called Majir Yusubov, the cousin of the father of the truck’s owner, Samir Yusubov.
Russian media channel Baza shared a video on Telegram in which Samir Yusubov apparently confirmed his ownership of the truck but denied any link to the alleged attack.
Baza reported that properties belonging to the Yusubov family were raided but that the truck’s owner was currently abroad.
Throughout September, the truck was spotted in the Russian territory of Krasnodar, which is connected to Crimea by the bridge.
Construction of the Crimean Bridge began in 2016, two years after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
Russian president Vladimir Putin inaugurated the bridge upon its completion in 2018, touting it at the time as a “miracle.”
As well as offering an alternative to the ferry route across the Kerch Strait between mainland Russia and Crimea, the bridge became a symbol of the strength of Russia’s claim over the peninsula, which is not internationally recognized.
Russian authorities have previously warned that a military strike on the bridge would not go unanswered.
The damage to the bridge temporarily cut off direct road and rail supply chains between mainland Russia and Crimea.
Crimea is connected to Ukraine’s Kherson region, swathes of which are under Russian occupation.
Russian-controlled areas of southern and eastern Ukraine effectively provide Moscow with a land bridge extending to Crimea. EFE