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Blast rocks railway bridge over Volga

A railway bridge over the Volga River near Russia’s Samara city was damaged by a blast on Monday, the RIA news agency reported, citing emergency services.

While no casualties have been reported, authorities have suspended railway traffic from using the bridge. Located in Russia’s southwest, the Samara region is one of the country’s heavy industry hubs.

The incident, described by the Russian Railways company as “illegal interference”, was caused by an explosive device, reported Tass.

Russia, in recent months, has reported a series of attacks on its industrial and logistics infrastructure which it blamed on Ukraine.

Earlier, Russia’s defence ministry said it intercepted 38 Ukrainian drones over the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow illegally annexed from Kyiv in 2014. A bridge that connects Crimea to Russian territory was closed to traffic for about two hours in the early hours.

Meanwhile, the death toll from a Russian drone strike in Ukraine’s southern port city of Odesa rose to 11 on Sunday, as officials pulled out the bodies of two children and a young mother from the rubble.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky called on Western allies to boost Ukraine’s air defences in the wake of Saturday’s deadly attack.

In Moscow, China’s special envoy for Ukraine held talks on Saturday with senior Russian diplomats on the first leg of a European trip that will also take him to Brussels, Poland, Germany and France, Chinese and Russian state media reported.

In a statement published on Sunday, China’s foreign ministry said special representative Li Hui and Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Galuzin agreed that negotiations are the only way to end the fighting in Ukraine.

Additional reporting by agencies