UKRAINE has launched a missile strike on Putin’s Crimea bridge just weeks after a suspected sea drone attack on the crossing left two dead.
Videos appeared to show stunned holidaymakers on nearby beaches watching in horror as smoke bellowed from the £3 billion bridge.
Some took out mobile phones to record the drama as it unfolded near the holiday resort on Saturday.
Two powerful explosions were reportedly heard after the daytime attack on the Kerch bridge, used by Russian forces to supply troops in southern Ukraine.
But the Russian Defence Ministry claimed the attack had been unsuccessful and that no damage or casualties had been caused.
In a statement posted earlier on the Telegram messaging app, Russian-installed Crimea governor Sergei Aksyonov said two rockets had been downed by anti-aircraft defences near the bridge.
It remains unclear if the crossing was badly damaged and whether white smoke rising above the bridge was a screen defence by the Russian army.
Traffic on the Kerch bridge was stopped in both ways but is said to now be moving again after the daytime assault.
Separately, Russian forces destroyed 20 Ukrainian drones launched onto the Crimean Peninsula, Russia’s Defence Ministry said.
Russia claimed 14 drones were destroyed by air defence systems and six were suppressed by electronic warfare.
In July, two were killed when a suspected sea drone attack sparked and huge blast that bought down parts of the bridge.
Two blasts rang out on the 12-mile crossing as hordes of motorists travelled across it.
One showed a section of the carriageway obliterated by the blast, causing it to slump into the water below.
Explosions rang out at both 03:04 and 03:20 local time, according to reports, shaking stunned drivers as they sat in their cars.
According to eyewitnesses, people watched on in horror as a support pillar “collapsed” when the explosions erupted.
A couple were killed and their 14-year-old daughter has been seriously injured when their Hyundai was struck by one of the blasts.
The Crimean Bridge was badly damaged last October in a powerful blast that Russian officials said was caused by a truck that blew up while crossing the bridge, killing three people.
Ukraine’s SBU domestic intelligence agency later claimed responsibility for the sabotage operation.
The bridge, which is the only direct link between the transport network of Russia and the peninsula, was a flagship project for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The bridge is key for Russian supplies and tourist traffic to the spectacular peninsula.