Russian leader Vladimir Putin declared the bombing of the Kerch Strait bridge, which connects Russia to occupied Crimea, “an act of terrorism aimed at destroying Russia’s civilian and critical infrastructure” at a Russian Security Council meeting on Monday, promising a “massive strike” on Ukraine in response.
Putin invaded and colonized the Crimean peninsula with little response from the West in 2014, declaring its residents Russian citizens. Four years later, Russia debuted a bridge connecting Crimea to Russia via the Kerch Strait, effectively closing off the critical Ukrainian port city of Mariupol from the Black Sea. The Kerch Strait Bridge, at 12 miles long, is the longest bridge in Europe.
Ukrainian officials have long accused Russia of deliberately building the bridge, which now separates the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov, too low so that large cargo ships could not pass through.