FSB arrests suspects in the Crimean Bridge explosion Russia releases its version of events relating to the bridge explosion. Ukraine calls the whole thing ‘nonsense’
The FSB has identified 12 people suspected of coordinating and carrying out the October 8 explosion on the Crimean Bridge. It named the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, its director Kyrylo Budanov, and its “employees and agents” as organizers of the explosion. The agency also released its official account of the explosion, including a description of how an explosive device reached the Crimean Bridge on a truck. The Ukrainian intelligence agency declined to comment, calling the FSB’s activities “nonsense.”
The FSB announced that it has identified “the organizers and participants in the terrorist act on the Crimean Bridge.” Eight suspects in the case have been arrested. The FSB and Russia’s Investigative Committee identified the organizers of the October 8 explosion as the Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, its director Kyrylo Budanov, and “its employees and agents.”
The agency identified a total of 12 people suspected of participating in the explosion. The FSB report made only seven suspects’ names known: Ukrainian citizens Mikhail Tsyurkalo, Denis Kovach, Roman Solomko, Vladimir Zloba; Georgian citizens Sandro Inosaridze and “a broker by the name of Levan;” as well as Armenian citizen Artur Terchanian. The participation of five Russian citizens, whose names were not disclosed, was also reported. They were arrested, along with three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia.
According to investigators, the bomb was brought from Odesa through Bulgaria, Georgia, and Armenia, disguised under construction film. According to the FSB, the explosive device was “camouflaged” in 22 pallets of film rolls, weighing 22.8 tons.
In the beginning of August, the FSB reports, the bomb left the Port of Odesa for the Bulgarian city of Ruse. From Bulgaria the cargo was transported to the Georgian port of Poti, and from there to Armenia. It was at customs at the Yerevan Trans Alliance facility from September 29 to October 3, and then crossed the Russia-Georgia border at the Verkhny Lars crossing. After two days, the explosive device was delivered to a wholesale depot in Armavir, in the Krasnodar region, where on September 7 the pallets were loaded onto Makhir Yusubov’s truck, which then left for Simferopol. At around 6:00am Moscow time on October 8, the truck was blown up while crossing the Crimean Bridge.
On October 9, Alexander Bastrykin, head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, spoke about a similar route during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
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The FSB claims that documents relating to the transport of the explosive device were changed twice during preparations for the explosion. Photographs of these documents have appeared in Russian media. A non-existent firm in Crimea is indicated in the documents as the final recipient of the cargo. According to the agency, a GUR employee who called himself “Ivan Ivanovich” controlled the explosive device’s movements and maintained contact with participants in the transportation scheme. He allegedly used both an anonymous virtual telephone number and a number registered to Kremenchuk resident Sergey Andreychenko.
Russian media, including RIA Novosti, have published an FSB video showing an inspection of the truck and a picture of an x-ray of its contents. However, the Telegram channel Mash had already published a longer version of the inspection on the day of the explosion, and there are inconsistencies between their video and the x-ray picture.
As OSINT analyst Oliver Alexander notes, the video footage shows one truck, while the x-ray image shows another. He called attention, among other things, to a different number of wheels on each truck: the first has five on each side under the trailer, the second has four. The analyst says the video footage shows an International ProStar truck. Baza reported earlier that Yusubov had this type of vehicle.
Presumably, the truck in the x-ray is not the one which exploded, but a DAF truck with Georgian license plates on which, according to the FSB, the explosive device crossed the border between Georgia and Russia. Photos of this truck were published earlier on Telegram. Georgia has said it had no involvement in the incident.
The GUR of the Ukrainian defense ministry refused to comment on the FSB’s announcement, calling the agency’s activities “nonsense.” “All the activities of the FSB and the Investigative Committee are nonsense. They are fake structures, serving the Putin regime, therefore we will not comment on their routine announcements. It’s surprising that they haven’t yet found any business cards in the vicinity of the Crimean Bridge,” GUR spokesman Andriy Yusov told Ukrainian publication Suspilne.