Vladimir Putin has declared an “emergency” on Monday as the Kerch Bridge was bombed in an “apparent missile strike by Ukraine” and “at least on bridge span has collapsed.”
Thousands of Russian tourists are “panicked” who are trying to “get out of Crimea” and they are being told to “stock up on the necessary amount of water.”
At lunch time on Monday a “traffic jam more than 10km long” was seen as Russian civilians are fleeing Crimea and are driving to Melitopol.”
Russian tourist chats are full of panicked Russians who did not get the vacation they desired.
I've translated some of their posts below.
"Important information for those who are going to get out of Crimea by land route. The most important thing is to stock up on the necessary… pic.twitter.com/HT5A9eG1nu
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) July 17, 2023
The Russian Hospitality Union said that “at least 50,000 tourists are currently in Crimea” who drove their from the Russian mainland.
Russian media are announcing that “there are two options to leave the peninsula in your car: through new regions of Russia or by ferry across the Kerch Strait.”
Tourists flee from the Crimea, flee
A traffic jam more than 5 km long was formed from people leaving the Crimea towards Melitopol. Apparently, the people who have arrived are not reassured by the ballads of Russian officials about security, stocks of food and gasoline.
At the… pic.twitter.com/A1TQH0uVMf
— Lew Anno Suport #Ukraine 24/2-22 (@anno1540) July 17, 2023
Putin has been forced to send troops to Crimea in preparation for Ukraine’s counter offensive in the annexed peninsula to take the area back into Kyiv’s control.
Tamila Tasheva, the Volodymyr Zelensky-appointed envoy who is in charge of Crimea said, “Ukraine is actively preparing to bring Crimea and other occupied territories back, and the Russians see that.
“Since at least August, there have been strikes or sabotage on Russia‘s military and transport infrastructure, including the railway hub, or the Russian-held port, or the explosion on the Crimean bridge.
“These developments have forced them to redeploy their troops, vehicles and machinery to further inland and away from the frontlines.
“That tells us that they are expecting the situation to get worse, and they have to explain this to the local population too.”
⚡️According to the Google Maps service, the traffic jam from the cars of 🇷🇺Russians fleeing Crimea has grown to 25 km. pic.twitter.com/AhLqD4Vqg8
— 🇺🇦Ukrainian Front (@front_ukrainian) July 17, 2023
Tasheva told Newsweek, “Their narrative has transformed from claims that ‘we have powerful air defenses and will protect Crimea,’ to scrambling to pacify the concerned locals that the explosions and shelling are either military drills, or accidents, and otherwise are ‘nothing to worry about.'”
She added: “Of course, Crimea remains an important military base for the Russians, they usually have about 35-37,000 officers and soldiers deployed there.”