The Federal Security Service (FSB) in Russia has detained five Russian nationals and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia suspected of involvement in the Crimean Bridge explosion on Oct. 8, the agency said Wednesday. It also released images of the truck’s documents and an X-ray which has raised more questions.
The FSB blamed the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, its director Kyrylo Budanov and agents for orchestrating the attack, as per reports.
Along with photos of documents and an X-ray of the truck’s trailer, the FSB also released what it claims were photos of those allegedly involved in the bombing of the Crimean Bridge, also known as Kerch Bridge.
The explosive device was camouflaged in the truck inside rolls of construction polyethylene film on 22 pallets with a total weight of 22,770 kg (approximately 50,000 pounds) which had been shipped from the seaport of Odessa to the Bulgarian city of Ruse, a statement issued by FSB said.
However, open-source intelligence analysts have been quick to point out that the “truck and trailer visible in the X-ray images is not the same truck as is visible in the CCTV camera footage released.”
Meanwhile, Bulgaria has rejected the Russian claim that the suspected truck traveled through its territory.
“It has been indisputably established that the truck that blew up on the Crimean bridge was never on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, which [Moscow has] indicated as the starting point for its route,” Radio Liberty quoted a statement given by Bulgaria’s Council of Ministers on Tuesday.
“The Government of the Republic of Bulgaria will in no way allow the name of our country to be associated with any involvement in terrorist activity,” the statement added.
Although there is no conclusive evidence or independent investigation to assign blame for the explosion as Russia claims, President Vladimir Putin termed Saturday’s explosion as an “act of terrorism aimed at destroying critically important civilian infrastructure.”
Despite Russian claims that a truck bomb was used for the explosion, Kyiv has remained tight-lipped on the incident. As the mystery continues over who bombed the bridge and how they did it, several theories of missile attacks and underwater explosions were put forward.
Saturday’s explosion, which rocked the 11-mile-long Crimean bridge linking the Russian mainland with Russia-occupied Crimea, destroyed one span of the road bridge and temporarily halted truck and car traffic. It also blew up several fuel tankers on a train heading from southern Russia toward the Crimean Peninsula.
The bridge is a strategic link through which Russian forces in Ukraine receive supplies of military equipment and fuel. The blast was a major morale boost for Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, and a humiliating blow to Putin’s prestige.
In retaliation, Russia carried out a barrage of rockets and missile strikes across Ukraine in the past two days, killing at least 19 people and damaging cities from Lviv in the west to Kharkiv in the east, and the national capital Kyiv.