Vladimir Putin meets his security council on Monday

After accusing kyiv of having committed a “terrorist act”, by organizing the explosion which partially destroyed the Crimean bridge connecting Russia to the annexed peninsula on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting his Security Council on Monday.

“The perpetrators, performers and sponsors are the Ukrainian secret services,” Vladimir Putin summed up Sunday after a meeting with the head of the Russian Investigative Committee, according to a video released by the Kremlin. “There is no doubt that this is a terrorist act aimed at destroying critical Russian civilian infrastructure,” he added.

“Cloudy” weather on Saturday in Crimea

That was Vladimir Putin’s first reaction to the explosion on Saturday – yet another major setback for Russia as its forces struggle in Ukraine. The Kremlin has indicated that the Russian president is convening his security council on Monday, which brings together the main ministers, political leaders and representatives of the Russian security services and army. kyiv has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement. President Volodymyr Zelensky was content to quip in a video about the “cloudy” weather on Saturday in Crimea – a probable allusion to the smoke from the fire – “although it was also hot there”.

He promised in the same video a Crimea “without occupants”, Ukraine, supported in this by the vast majority of the international community and the United Nations, having never accepted the annexation in 2014 by Moscow of the peninsula . Volodymyr Zelensky also called the Russian military “terrorists”, after strikes on apartment buildings in Zaporizhia, a city in southern Ukraine, which left between 12 and 17 dead according to reports, three days after previous bombings that killed 17 people there.

” Pure evil “

” Any sense. Absolute evil. Terrorists and savages. From the one who gave this order to the one who carried it out,” the Ukrainian president wrote on his Telegram account. This Russian strike “destroyed private apartments, where people lived, slept without attacking anyone”. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, four cruise missiles, two missiles fired from fighter jets and other anti-aircraft type missiles were used against the city. The Russian army said on Sunday that it had carried out strikes with “high-precision weapons” against units of “foreign mercenaries” in the region.

Not far from there, the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, was reconnected to the electricity grid on Sunday. The day before, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that the facility had lost its last external power source due to further bombardment, and was relying on emergency generators to provide the current it needs to ensure certain safety functions, including the cooling of its six reactors, all of which are shut down. “Our team in Zaporizhia confirms that the external power line lost yesterday (Saturday) has been restored and (the plant) is reconnected to the grid – a temporary relief from a still untenable situation,” the director general of the company wrote. ‘IAEA, Rafael Grossi, on his Twitter account.

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Traffic recovery

A few hours after the huge explosion on the Crimean bridge on Saturday, car and rail traffic had partially resumed there. The heavy goods vehicles, however, were initially sent back to ferries. The explosion caused one of the roadways of this bridge built at great expense, inaugurated by Vladimir Putin in 2018, to collapse on several spans. A rail convoy of fuel tank cars also caught fire. The Russian Ministry of Transport assured Sunday that passenger trains “run according to the usual plan”. Russian authorities had attributed the explosion on Saturday to a truck bomb whose owner is a resident of the Russian region of Krasnodar.

kyiv had repeatedly threatened to hit this bridge symbol of the annexation of Crimea, which is also used to supply Russian troops in Ukraine. CCTV footage shared on social media showed a powerful explosion as several vehicles drove across the bridge. According to investigators, the attack killed three people: the driver of the truck as well as a man and a woman who were traveling by car. The Russian army, in difficulty on the Kherson front in southern Ukraine, said on Saturday that the supply of its troops was not threatened.

International “No Validity”

Since early September, Russian forces have been forced to retreat at many points on the front. In particular, they had to withdraw from the Kharkiv region (north-east). Faced with a galvanized Ukrainian army strong in Western arms supplies, Vladmiri Putin decreed at the end of September the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of reservists and the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, although Moscow only partially controls them.

In New York, the UN General Assembly is considering from Monday on a resolution condemning the annexation of these four regions, the West hoping to prove the isolation of Russia on the international scene. The draft text seen by AFP condemns the “illegal” annexations of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson after “so-called referendums” and underlines that these actions have “no validity” under the law international.

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