Moscow, Jul 17 (EFE).- President Vladimir Putin vowed Monday that Moscow will retaliate following a “terrorist attack by the Kiev regime” on the bridge linking the annexed Crimean Peninsula to the Russian mainland.
“Russia absolutely will respond to that attack,” Putin said during a meeting to assess the situation after the early Monday morning attack on the bridge.
The Kremlin chief added that Russia’s Defense Ministry is now preparing an appropriate response.
The attack was a “senseless crime” from a military point of view, according to Putin, who said the Crimean Bridge, also known as the Kerch Bridge, had not been used for some time to transport troops or materiel.
“And it’s cruel because innocent civilians were harmed and died,” he said, referring to a couple from the western Russian region of Belgorod who lost their lives in the attack.
Their 14-year-old daughter also was injured.
Echoing remarks made earlier by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, Putin said the pylons of the 19-kilometer (12-mile) bridge were not damaged in the attack.
He also gave instructions to begin repair work on the bridge as soon as possible.
Vehicular traffic on the Crimean Bridge was suspended on Monday morning, while rail traffic on a parallel structure resumed shortly after the attack.
Khusnullin said the four-lane road for vehicular traffic in both directions will not be fully repaired until November.
Without claiming Ukraine’s responsibility for the attack, a top official from that country said Monday that the bridge is a legitimate military target.
Speaking at the United Nations headquarters, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the Kerch Bridge was primarily being used to transport munitions, fuel and other military equipment the Russian army needs to continue its “war of aggression.”
He did not confirm, however, whether his country was responsible for the attack, saying that because he is on a trip to New York he does not have access to classified information.
However, the Security Service of Ukraine indirectly claimed responsibility, saying it will provide “all of the details on the organization” of the attack after Kiev’s victory over Russia.
Monday’s attack was the second on that bridge since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.
In October of last year, five people were killed when a bomb-laden truck exploded on the bridge, which was inaugurated in May 2018, four years after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula. EFE