Fire breaks out on Kerch bridge linking Russia to Crimea

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A fuel tank was on fire early Saturday on the Kerch bridge linking Crimea and Russia, the Russian state news agency RIA reported, while Ukraine’s media reported an explosion there. One photograph shows “significant damage” to the road section of the road-and-rail bridge.

Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant lost its connection to an external power supply early on Saturday as a result of shelling, Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom said, blaming Russia.

Energoatom said the plant was now getting power to cover its needs from its backup diesel generators.

“The diesel generators started automatically. The available supplies of diesel fuel for their operation in this mode will be enough for 10 days,” the company wrote on Telegram.

Russian forces are digging new trenches and reinforcing defensive positions around the area of Nova Kakhovka, a city in the southern Kherson region, according to the southern Ukrainian military command. FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg reports.

A car bomb sparked a giant fire on a bridge linking Crimea to Russia, Moscow said Saturday, without immediately blaming Ukraine.

“Today at 6:07am (0307 GMT) on the road traffic side of the Crimean bridge … a car bomb exploded, setting fire to seven oil tankers being carried by rail to Crimea,” Russian news agencies cited the national anti-terrorism committee as saying.

A Kremlin spokesman said President Vladmir Putin had ordered the establishment of a commission to look into the blast, Russian news agencies reported.

The road-and-rail bridge, built on the orders of Putin and inaugurated in 2018, was a key transport link for carrying military equipment to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine, especially in the south, as well as ferrying troops across.

Spanning the Kerch Strait, it is the only crossing between Russia-annexed Crimean territory and Russia.

Ukrainian authorities have found a mass grave in the recently liberated eastern town of Lyman and it is unclear how many bodies it holds, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in an online post on Friday.

Separately, the Ukrinform news agency cited a senior police official as saying the grave contained 180 bodies. Ukrainian troops retook Lyman, in the Donetsk region, from Russian control on October 1.

Kyrylenko wrote on Telegram that officials in Lyman had found “a mass grave where, according to local information, there could be both soldiers and civilians. The exact number is yet to be ascertained.”

He said a second burial site with 200 graves had also been found, containing the bodies of civilians. It was not clear from his comments how or when they had died.

Last month the bodies of 436 people were exhumed from a burial site in the northeastern town of Izium after it was liberated. Most appeared to have died violent deaths, local officials said.

Ukrainian authorities have regularly accused Russian troops of committing atrocities in occupied territories, a charge Moscow denies.