October 8, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Amy Woodyatt, Adrienne Vogt and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 8:17 p.m. ET, October 8, 2022
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5:33 a.m. ET, October 8, 2022

Major transport links between Crimea and mainland Russia suspended

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy and Tim Lister

Traffic is seen on the bridge across the Kerch Strait linking Russia's Taman Peninsula with Crimea, in Kerch, Crimea on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
Traffic is seen on the bridge across the Kerch Strait linking Russia's Taman Peninsula with Crimea, in Kerch, Crimea on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. (AP)

Major transport links between mainland Russia and the annexed peninsula of Crimea have been suspended, following an explosion on Kerch bridge on Saturday morning.

State-owned rail company Russian Railways announced the suspension of all train ticket sales from Russia to Crimea, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

All bus services from Crimea to mainland Russia were canceled on Saturday, TASS said.

As authorities get to grips with the incident, at least four or five ferries will be used to organize communication between Crimea and the Russian mainland territory, Krasnodar Territory, TASS reported citing the maritime services of the Kuban.

4:56 a.m. ET, October 8, 2022

Ukrainian Defense Ministry says Kerch -"symbol of Russian power" - is down

From CNN's Tim Lister

In a brief posting on its official Twitter account, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense reacted to the explosion on the Kerch bridge, saying: "The guided missile cruiser Moskva and the Kerch Bridge – two notorious symbols of Russian power in Ukrainian Crimea – have gone down. What’s next in line, Russkies?"

The Moskva, a guided-missile cruiser and the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet sunk on April 14, though the cause remains disputed.

Ukraine says it hit the Moskva with anti-ship cruise missiles, which sparked a fire that detonated stored ammunition. The Moskva was armed with a range of anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles as well as torpedoes, naval guns and missile defense systems, meaning it would have had massive amounts of explosives aboard.

Russia’s Defense Ministry, however, says a fire of unknown origin detonated the ammunition and the resulting explosions left the Moskva with structural damage. It says the warship then sank amid rough seas as it was being towed to a nearby port.

4:30 a.m. ET, October 8, 2022

“Air defense of the Russian Federation, are you sleeping?” Ukrainian officials respond to Kerch bridge explosion

From CNN's Olga Voitovych, Kostan Nechyporenko, Josh Pennington and Hannah Ritchie

Surveillance footage from fixed cameras on the Kerch bridge shows the moment of a large explosion on the roadway, with some vehicles apparently caught in the blast on Saturday October 8.
Surveillance footage from fixed cameras on the Kerch bridge shows the moment of a large explosion on the roadway, with some vehicles apparently caught in the blast on Saturday October 8. (Telegram) 

Ukrainian officials have started responding to a fire involving a tanker on Kerch bridge in the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula on Saturday, without directly acknowledging that Ukraine was responsible for the explosion.

Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to the Interior Minister, said that "the Kerch bridge is a key logistical link that connects Russia with Crimea, and then with the Kherson region. As of now, the Russians have officially announced that the Kerch bridge is closed."

"Logistically, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to supply everything possible, from food and fuel to the supply of weapons to Crimea and to the Kherson region. This is a big plus for us, Denysenko said on Ukrainian television.
"A ferry crossing may partially solve the problem, but it depends on how many ferries they will launch and of what size. […] To do it all in one day or a few hours - it is almost unrealistic."

"Are you sleeping?": Meanwhile, the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine responded to the blast on Facebook, posting, “Air defense of the Russian Federation, are you sleeping?” alongside a video showing a section of the bridge’s road that had been completely destroyed.

David Arakhamia, the head of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s party in parliament and a member of Kyiv’s negotiating team with Russia released a Telegram statement about the incident, saying: “Russian illegal construction is starting to collapse and catch fire. The reason is simple: if you build something explosive, sooner or later, it will explode. And this is just the beginning.”

Mykhailo Podoliak, who serves as an adviser to Zelensky echoed the sentiment. “Crimea, the bridge, the beginning. Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled,” Podoliak said.

The official Twitter page of the Ukrainian government responded to images, memes and video of the Krech bridge explosion with a two-word comment:

"Sick burn."

4:28 a.m. ET, October 8, 2022

Crimea authorities seek to reassure public on fuel and other supplies

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko

A fire burns on the Kerch bridge Saturday morning October 8.
A fire burns on the Kerch bridge Saturday morning October 8. (Twitter)

Authorities in Russian-annexed Crimea have moved to reassure people that there will be no fuel shortages in the peninsula following the explosion on the Kerch bridge Saturday.

The Governor of the city of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhaev said on his Telegram channel: "Gasoline supply in Sevastopol for 40 days, there will be no shortage, so there is no need to stock up on fuel. The situation is the same with products."

Social media videos -- purportedly shot Saturday -- show long queues at some fuel stations in Crimea.

At the same time, the Ministry of Industry in Crimes said that the sale of goods would be limited.

"In order to avoid artificial excitement, the sale of groceries in Crimea is limited: in one hand up to 3 kilograms," it said.

Many of the products imported into Crimea come across the Kerch bridge.

4:26 a.m. ET, October 8, 2022

There's been a massive explosion on Crimea’s Kerch bridge. Here's the latest

A fire burns on the Kerch bridge at sunrise in the Kerch Strait, Crimea on October 8.
A fire burns on the Kerch bridge at sunrise in the Kerch Strait, Crimea on October 8. (Stringer/Reuters)

A fuel tank exploded early Saturday on Europe’s longest bridge, which links Russia to the annexed territory of Crimea, according to Russian state media RIA and social media footage.

Images of the Kerch bridge posted on social media appear to show a portion of the roadway of the vehicle and rail bridge had fallen into the waters below it. Flames are seen burning from rail cars above.

The source of the explosion remains unclear.

The tanker was located on the 19-kilometer (11 mile) long bridge – strategically important because it links Russia’s Krasnodar region with the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula.

Why is it important? The bridge spans the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, on which sit key Ukrainian ports, including Mariupol.

The Kerch bridge is able to handle 40,000 cars a day and to move 14 million passengers and 13 million tons of cargo per year, state news agency RIA Novosti reported when the bridge opened in 2018. Its opening – according to Russia’s official narrative – claimed to mark the physical “reunification” of Crimea with the Russian mainland.

After the bridge opened, the United States condemned its construction as illegal.

What has Russia's response been to the explosion? Work is “underway to extinguish the fire,” the adviser to the Russian administration head of occupied Crimea, Oleg Kryunchkov, said in a Telegram post, adding that the bridge’s “shipping arches were not damaged.”

An official in Russian-annexed Crimea blamed “Ukrainian vandals” for the explosion on Kerch bridge in a post on Telegram.

Ukrainian vandals somehow managed to get their bloody paws on the Crimean bridge. And now they have something to be proud of, in 23 years of their economic activity, they did not manage to build anything deserving of interest in Crimea. But they did succeed in damaging the roadbed of the Russian bridge,” Chairman of the State Council of the Republic of Crimea Vladimir Konstantinov said.
“Such is the whole essence of the Kiev regime and the Ukrainian state … Of course, the causes of the accident will be investigated, and the damage will be repaired swiftly,” he added.

CNN cannot independently verify Konstantinov’s claim.

4:26 a.m. ET, October 8, 2022

Over 500 civilian bodies have been found in territory recaptured by Ukraine, Kharkiv police say

From CNN's Jo Shelley, Olga Voitovych and Tim Lister

A mass burial site after exhumation in Izum, Ukraine, on September 30.
A mass burial site after exhumation in Izum, Ukraine, on September 30. (Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto/AP)

The bodies of more than 500 civilians have been discovered in the territory in northeast Ukraine that has recently been retaken from Russian forces, according to Ukrainian police.

Most of the remains — 447, according to Ukrainian forces — were found at what was described as a mass burial site in the town of Izium, which Ukrainian forces liberated from Russian occupation in early September. Russian troops had been using Izium as a launchpad for attacks southward into the Donetsk region. 

As Ukrainian forces liberated more land in the northeast, new burial sites are being discovered.

“We found the bodies of 534 civilians from the de-occupied territories," said Serhii Bolvinov, the head of the investigative department of the regional police,

They included 226 women and 19 children, Bolvinov added.

4:09 a.m. ET, October 8, 2022

Ukraine says 2,400 square kilometers of territory has been liberated in the south since war began

From CNN's Julia Kesaieva

A Ukrainian tank is seen near Kherson, Ukraine on October 7.
A Ukrainian tank is seen near Kherson, Ukraine on October 7. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Ukrainian military has liberated 2,400 square kilometers (more than 926 square miles) of territory in the south "since the beginning of the full-scale war," a senior Ukrainian official said Friday.

Almost all of that land has been recovered in the past two weeks as Ukraine has stepped up its counteroffensive in Kherson.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president's office, said the progress in Kherson includes:

  • Six settlements that were liberated in the Kherson district, which is to the north of the city itself.
  • 61 settlements that were recaptured in the region's district of Beryslav

Meanwhile, the evacuation of civilians continued amid massive destruction to critical infrastructure in towns like Arkhanhelske, Vysokopillia and Osokorivka, all of which saw weeks of heavy fighting and indirect fire, Tymoshenko said, adding that de-mining was in progress.

Ukrainian forces have been making steady progress in Kherson since beginning an offensive at the end of last month. In his Thursday night evening address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv has retaken more than 500 square kilometers (about 193 square miles) of territory in the southern Kherson region since Oct. 1.