Natalia and Alexei Kulik, residents of Novooskolsk city district, lost their lives in an explosion on the Crimean Bridge on July 17. The couple, accompanied by their 14-year-old daughter Angelina, were on their way to Crimea for a vacation when the incident occurred. Angelina survived the blast but suffered injuries.
The explosion claimed the life of Natalia Kulik, a 36-year-old employee of the education department of Novooskolsk city district. She was traveling with her 40-year-old husband, Alexei, an entrepreneur. Angelina, their daughter, was seated in the back of the car.
The Kulik family was heading to Crimea along with relatives in two separate vehicles. Having visited the peninsula before, they decided to return for another vacation. A family member named Sergei Shestakov, who was driving ahead of the Kuliks, shared this information with 7x7.
Talking to "Moskovsky Komsomolets", Shestakov said that they were originally planning to spend the night before crossing the bridge. However, upon hearing on the radio about a massive traffic jam with hundreds of cars, they decided to proceed during the night. The Kuliks were delayed on the road, while their relatives drove ahead. Around 3 a.m., the Shestakovs heard the first explosion, followed by a power outage. After a second explosion, they were unable to establish contact with the Kuliks. Sergei Shestakov left his wife and daughter on the road and drove back, but he wasn’t allowed to approach the Kuliks’ car. From a distance, he could see Alexei's lifeless body.
The Telegram channel Shot reported that Angelina's parents lost their lives when the car's engine thrown by the blast wave penetrated the cabin. The impact hurled the girl into the windshield, resulting in a head injury and chest damage. Angelina is currently in intensive care.
Her grandmother, Alla Borisovna, who is Alexei Kulik's mother, told reporters that Angelina would be staying with the family of Natalia Kulik’s sister. Alla Borisovna and her husband decided not to take custody of the child because of old age and the challenges of upbringing and providing for her.
The Kulik couple became the 49th and 50th civilians from the Belgorod region to have lost their lives since the war in Ukraine began, according to 7x7.
The National Anti-Terrorist Committee reported that two Ukrainian drones attacked the Crimean Bridge on the night of July 17. Natalia Humenyuk, the spokesperson for the AFU's South Joint Command, suggested that the explosion could have been a Russian provocation before the decision on extending the grain deal. In response to the incident, Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov announced a halt to Ukrainian grain supplies to Europe.
The Investigative Committee of Russia has initiated a criminal case regarding the terrorist attack. As a result of the damage to the Crimean Bridge, the authorities have arranged an alternative route for cars through "new regions". Vladimir Putin stated that the Defense Ministry was preparing an appropriate response from Russia.