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Russia Ukraine conflict

Ukrainian official calls for Crimea bridge to be ‘dismantled’ after blasts

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A senior Ukrainian official called Wednesday for Moscow’s main bridge connecting the Kremlin-controlled Crimea to the Russian mainland to be “dismantled,” in the wake of several attacks on the peninsula.

The 19-kilometer (12-mile) bridge inaugurated in 2018 by Russian President Vladimir Putin is Moscow’s key military and civilian land corridor to the peninsula, which it grabbed from Ukraine in 2014.

“The bridge is an illegal object,” presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak said on social media.

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It “must therefore be dismantled. Not important how - voluntary or not,” he added, implying the Kerch bridge could become a military target for Ukrainian forces.

Russia annexed Crimea in the wake of massive street demonstrations in Ukraine that ousted a Kremlin-friendly president and sparked a separatist conflict with pro-Moscow rebels in the country’s eastern Donbas region.

Russian military installations on the peninsula have been rocked recently by explosions, with the Russian defense ministry blaming an attack this week on an act of “sabotage.”

Ukraine has not publicly claimed responsibility for attacks leading to the explosions, but political and military officials have made quips about the incidents online and implied that Ukrainian forces were involved.

In an address late Tuesday after explosions at an ammunitions storage facility near the village of Dzhankoi, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said there had been an exodus from Crimea of Russian tourists who had realized that “Crimea is not a place for them.”

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