VLADIMIR Putin’s prized bridge linking Russia to Crimea has left been a burnt out and partially collapsed ruin after a massive explosion.
Local officials said three people died in the explosion and that rescue crews fished out two unidentified bodies from the water.
Defiant and furious Kremlin officials have boasted they will restart rail transport by 8pm tonight – but it is unlikely the gaping hole in the road bridge will be repaired any time soon.
The explosion is a huge hit to Putin’s prestige, who staked his reputation on keeping the peninsula safe from Ukrainian attack.
And it is an utter embarrassment for Russians who bragged about having 20 different ways of protecting the bridge, including military dolphins.