Putin will chair meeting of his Security Council tomorrow after Crimea bridge blast


Russian President Vladimir Putin will chair a meeting with his Security Council on Monday, two days after a huge blast ripped through Russia’s Crimea bridge, the Kremlin told local news agencies.

‘Tomorrow the president has a planned meeting with the permanent members of the Security Council,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Russia’s security council (SCRF) is comprised of the nation’s top defence officials and heads of security agencies, who come together to support Putin – the overall chair of the council – on policy decisions. 

Embattled defence minister Sergei Shoigu will be in attendance alongside the head of Russia’s FSB domestic intelligence service Aleksandr Bortnikov and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

SCRF meetings typically come as a reaction to important geopolitical events concerning national security, but can also indicate that Putin is on the cusp of making a major decision.

The Russian president chaired a meeting of the SCRF just days prior to the invasion of Ukraine, raising fears that Monday’s meeting could signify a impending escalation in the conflict. 

The former head of the British Army, General Lord Richard Dannatt, warned that Putin could now opt for the Armageddon approach after the Kremlin previously insisted that an attack on Crimea would ‘cross a red line’.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will chair a meeting with his Security Council on Monday, two days after a huge blast ripped through Russia's Crimea bridge, the Kremlin told local news agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin will chair a meeting with his Security Council on Monday, two days after a huge blast ripped through Russia’s Crimea bridge, the Kremlin told local news agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via a video link in Moscow on September 29, 2022, just one day before he formally annexed four regions of southeastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via a video link in Moscow on September 29, 2022, just one day before he formally annexed four regions of southeastern Ukraine

A view shows a fire on the Kerch bridge in the Kerch Strait, Crimea, October 8, 2022, in this screen grab from a handout video

A view shows a fire on the Kerch bridge in the Kerch Strait, Crimea, October 8, 2022, in this screen grab from a handout video

Who is on Russia’s security council? 

Russia’s security council is chaired by Vladimir Putin who appoints its members. 

Several top officials in Russia’s parliament, security services, defence ministry and other functions may be summoned intermittently, but the council maintains 12 permanent members, plus chairman Putin:

  • Dmitry Medvedev – Deputy Chairman of the Security Council 
  • Mikhail Mishustin – Prime Minister
  • Valentina Matviyenko – Chairwoman of the Council of Federation
  • Sergei Naryshkin – Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR)
  • Vyacheslav Volodin – State Duma Speaker
  • Anton Vaino – Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office
  • Sergei Ivanov – Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport
  • Nikolai Patrushev – Secretary of the Russian Federation Security Council 
  • Sergei Shoigu – Defence Minister
  • Sergei Lavrov – Foreign Minister  
  • Vladimir Kolokoltsev – Interior Minister
  • Aleksandr Bortnikov – Director of the Federal Security Service 

The 12 mile long bridge over the Kerch strait links Crimea to the Russian mainland and is a major artery for Putin’s forces that control most of southern Ukraine’s Kherson region and for the Russian naval port of Sevastopol.

It was damaged in an explosion early Saturday morning which saw chunks of the bridge fall into the sea and a large fire break out. 

The incident prompted gleeful messages from Ukrainian officials – though no claim of responsibility – and video footage of the bridge appeared to show a mysterious wave crest underneath the structure moments before the blast, prompting speculation that a Ukrainian-piloted boat or drone was likely behind it.

Russia meanwhile claimed a truck bomb had exploded, and has not apportioned blame for the damage. 

The meeting of the security council on Monday comes as top Putin propagandists and Russian regional governors called for total war in Ukraine in response to the bridge explosion.

Leading Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov demanded a brutal Stalinist response to ‘plunge Ukraine into dark times’ and round up all Russians against total war in the wake of the humiliating hit on the bridge.

Alluding to an enemy within, Solovyov called for a return of the notorious Stalin-era SMERSH counter-intelligence to crush all internal opposition to a full-scale war against Ukraine.

SMERSH, whose motto was ‘Death to Spies’, was a conglomeration of counterintelligence agencies used by Stalin to root out and obliterate those trying to subvert his regime during and after World War II. 

The deputy governor of Russia’s southern Stavropol region Valery Chernitsov exclaimed: ‘Ukrainians, leave your cities, especially the large ones. Because a big surprise is waiting for you. Sarmat missiles are ready to strike,’ in a menacing video posted on Twitter. 

And Crimea’s Russian-installed governor Sergei Aksyonov declared there is a ‘healthy desire to seek revenge’ following the explosion which destroyed parts of the Kerch bridge yesterday morning and killed three people.

Rocket attacks have already rained down on the southern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia since the bridge explosion, killing 17 people late last night and early this morning. 

Shocking footage circulated on social media by Ukrainian officials showed rescue workers pulling an elderly woman from the debris this morning after the attack reduced one high-rise residential building to rubble and damaged neighbouring structures.

An earlier clip saw rescue workers and forlorn residents picking their way over the mounds of twisted metal and smashed bricks as they searched for survivors and attempted to salvage what little remained from the devastation.

City council secretary Anatoly Kurtev said at least 20 private homes and 50 apartment buildings were damaged in the blasts, in addition to the high-rise that was flattened.

Alluding to an enemy within, Solovyov called for a return of the brutal Stalin-era SMERSH counter-intelligence to crush all internal opposition to full-scale war

Alluding to an enemy within, Solovyov called for a return of the brutal Stalin-era SMERSH counter-intelligence to crush all internal opposition to full-scale war

Fire tears through the Kerch bridge in the Kerch Strait, Crimea, after an explosion inthe early hours of Saturday, October 8, 2022

Fire tears through the Kerch bridge in the Kerch Strait, Crimea, after an explosion inthe early hours of Saturday, October 8, 2022

A view shows a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine October 9, 2022

A view shows a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine October 9, 2022

A view shows a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine October 9, 2022

A view shows a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine October 9, 2022

Russia in recent weeks has repeatedly struck Zaporizhzhia, which is in the Ukrainian controlled-part of a region that Putin annexed in violation of international law last week.

On Thursday, at least 19 people died in Russian missile strikes on apartment buildings in the southern city, which lies just 80 miles from Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.  

‘Again, Zaporizhzhia. Again, merciless attacks on civilians, targeting residential buildings, in the middle of the night,’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote in a Telegram post.

‘Absolute meanness. Absolute evil. … From the one who gave this order, to everyone who carried out this order: they will answer. They must. Before the law and the people,’ he added.

While Russia targeted Zaporizhzhia several times prior to Saturday’s explosion on the Crimea bridge, last night’s missile attack will likely be seen as a retributive action as it came just hours after the damage was dealt to the symbol of Russian power in the annexed peninsula.



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