Massive fires have been reported at an important bridge connecting Russia and Crimea. WGN Radio 720

KHARKIV, UKRAINE (AP) — Russian state media reported on Saturday that a bridge linking mainland Russia with the Russian-held Crimea peninsula was on fire. It was hours after a powerful blast shook the eastern Ukraine city of Kharkov.

RIA-Novosti and Tass news agency quoted local Russian official Oleg Kryuchkov as saying an object believed to be a fuel storage tank caught fire, halting traffic on the bridge.

Images shared on social media allegedly show the fire and damage to the span. The authenticity of the reports and images was not immediately confirmed.

The crossing is a pair of road and rail bridges built by Russia after it seized and annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 in violation of international law.

The fire came hours after an explosion early Saturday morning in the eastern Ukraine city of Kharkiv, sending a towering column of smoke into the sky and triggering a series of secondary explosions.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said in a Telegram that the early morning explosion was the result of a missile strike in the center of the city. He said the blast set off fires at one of the city’s medical facilities and a non-residential building.There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The explosion comes hours after Russia concentrated its attacks on an increasingly difficult Ukraine invasion into an area it had illegally annexed, and the death toll from a previous missile strike on apartments in the southern city of Zaporizhia rises to 14. did.

On Friday, Norway’s Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Russian and Ukrainian human rights groups and activists imprisoned in Moscow’s ally Belarus.

Commission chair Berit Reis-Andersen said the honor went to “three outstanding defenders of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence,” but it was Russian President Vladimir Putin. and was widely seen as a denunciation of his actions in Europe’s worst armed conflict since then: World War II.

Putin this week illegally claimed four regions of Ukraine as Russian territory, including the Zaporizhia region, home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.


Adam Schreck reported from Kyiv. Francisco Seco contributed to this report from Kharkiv.


Follow AP’s war coverage at Massive fires have been reported at an important bridge connecting Russia and Crimea. WGN Radio 720

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