Accusing Ukraine of terrorism after the explosion on the Crimean bridge is “too cynical even for Russia”, an adviser to Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.
The blast on the Kerch Strait Bridge that links occupied Crimea to Russia caused serious damage and will further squeeze supply lines for Kremlin forces fighting in Ukraine.
Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday, which has been celebrated among Ukrainians and will even feature on a special stamp.
Vladimir Putin, facing rare direct criticism at home, accused Ukraine special forces of carrying out the strike on the bridge.
“There is no doubt. This is an act of terrorism aimed at destroying critically important civilian infrastructure,” the Russian president said on Sunday.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, responded bluntly to the Russian leader’s words.
Speaking on Twitter, he said: “Putin accuses Ukraine of terrorism? Sounds too cynical even for Russia.
“Less than 24 hours ago (Russian) planes hit residential area of Zaporizhzhia with 12 missiles, killing 13 people and injuring more than 50.
“There is only one terrorist state here and the whole world knows who it is.”
Mr Podolyak referred to a Russian missile strike on the city of Zaporizhzhia on Sunday which partially destroyed a nine-storey apartment block and levelled five other residential buildings.
The exact death toll remained unclear, but at least 50 people including six children were taken to hospital.
President Zelenskyy reiterated calls for Russia to be branded a terrorist state following the attack on Zaporizhzhia.
He went on to say that Russia must be condemned and isolated at every level ahead of the upcoming UN General Assembly vote regarding Russia’s attempt to annex parts of Ukraine.
Security and defence analyst Professor Michael Clarke told Sky News that Ukraine was likely behind the explosion at the Kerch Strait Bridge.
“I’d be astonished if it was anybody else,” he said.
“It wasn’t an accident – you don’t lose a bridge like that in an accident.
“If it was some sort of accidental truck explosion, then the bridge was extremely badly designed and very, very badly built, because bridges are designed to take that sort of thing.”
Asked why Ukraine has yet to claim responsibility, he said one reason could be that such an attack would have required missiles “they’re not supposed to have”.
“I think it suits them to keep everybody guessing, to be honest,” he added.
“We all know it was them and they won’t want to reveal how they did it, because they might want to do something similar again.”