Putin visits the main Crimean bridge, which was damaged by a huge explosion in October



CNN

Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a visit to the Kerch Bridge, a key link between annexed Crimea and mainland Russia, which was partially destroyed in an explosion in October, according to Russian state media.

Photos and videos were released from the visit, including footage of Putin behind the wheel of a Mercedes sitting next to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khosnullin. In another video, Putin is seen walking along a section of the bridge.

In the drive-through video, Khosnulin tells Putin that “metal was available for parts of the bridge, so metal was brought in to build these structures, and in two weeks all 1,214 tons were assembled and brought here.” This is a clear reference to the damage to the bridge from the explosion on 8 October.

In a video released by Russian state television, Putin asks: “How many people have worked on the reforms?”

Khonsouline replied that there were “500 people, three pontoon cranes, four barges and 31 pieces of equipment around the clock.”

During the visit, one of the workers told Putin that while traffic was due to resume on December 20, “decisive decisions that expedited construction” allowed the department to reopen on Monday.

The 11-mile Kerch Bridge is the longest in Europe and carries both road and rail. It is strategically important because it connects the Russian Krasnodar region with the Crimea peninsula, which was annexed by Russia.

The bridge was severely damaged when a fuel tank exploded, destroying a large part of the road.

The Kremlin was quick to blame Kyiv for the blast, with Putin claiming it was an act of “sabotage” by Ukraine’s security services.

Photographs of workers repairing damage to the bridge on November 19.

On October 14, Moscow announced plans to complete repairs on the bridge by July 1, 2023, according to a decree posted on the government portal.

In 2018, Putin symbolically drove a truck across the Kerch Bridge to celebrate its opening, which was met with fanfare on Russian state television.

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