Russia ramped up security on its only bridge to Crimea after a huge blast destroyed sections of it on Saturday.
The bridge is a pivotal symbol of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
The blast killed three people, Russian investigators said.
President Vladimir Putin has now ordered the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to oversee the key connector to the occupied peninsula.
Officials said work to fix the damaged sections will begin immediately.
Russia’s deputy prime minister ordered the destroyed parts of the bridge to be taken down immediately and said divers would begin investigating damage below the waterline, Russian news agencies report.
Hailed by Russian media as “the construction of the century”, the bridge has been crucial to Russia for the movement of military equipment, ammunition and troops into southern Ukraine.
But new satellite images released on Saturday showed smoke and fire near the collapsed areas of the 19km bridge, which was opened with much fanfare four years after Moscow annexed Crimea.
Since it plays a strategic role in the war, Ukrainian authorities have said it is a legitimate target, as they vow to retake the peninsula.
Ukrainian officials responded with thinly-veiled approval to the explosion but have not indicated that their forces were behind the attack.
President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged the incident in his nightly address on Saturday, saying: “Today was not a bad day and mostly sunny on our state’s territory.”
“Unfortunately, it was cloudy in Crimea. Although it was also warm,” he added.
And a Ukrainian parliamentarian told the BBC that regardless of who was responsible for the attack, this was a “big Ukrainian victory and very severe and hard loss for Russia”.
“The bridge is not destroyed but damaged, but the image of Putin is destroyed, that is the most important thing,” Oleksiy Goncharenko said.
Russian authorities moved swiftly to reopen those parts of the key connector still intact and said late on Saturday that the bridge has been partially reopened to road and rail traffic.
The Moscow-appointed governor of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, said there was a desire for revenge, but made reassurances that the peninsula still had a month’s worth of fuel and more than two months’ worth of food.—BBC