Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday his defense ministry was preparing proposals for a response to an overnight attack that damaged the highway bridge linking Crimea with southern Russia, for which he blamed Ukraine.
At the end of a televised video conference with national and regional officials to assess the consequences of the attack, Putin called it a cruel and senseless act, saying the bridge “has not been used for military transport for a long time.”
Russian authorities had said a couple driving over the bridge to vacation in Crimea had been killed and their 14-year-old daughter injured.
kyiv did not officially claim responsibility, but Ukrainian media said Ukrainian security services had deployed maritime drones against the bridge.
The attack was similar to one in October, implicitly claimed by Ukraine, which put both road and rail bridges out of action for a time.
After two such incidents in his war with Ukraine, Putin demanded “concrete” proposals to ensure the safety of the bridge, a prestigious project he instigated after Russia seized and then unilaterally annexed Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula in 2014.
Ukraine has vowed to take back Crimea, along with all the territory Russia has seized since it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation,” in February 2022.
The latest attack coincided with the summer holiday season and meant that Russian tourists wanting to drive to or from Crimea would face the prospect of long lines for a car ferry or crossing Russian-seized territory Ukraine has vowed to recapture.
Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said in the video conference that there was no damage to the pylons of the 12-mile (19 km) bridge, but that a span carrying traffic in one direction had been completely destroyed and would have to be rebuilt.
It said road traffic would resume in one direction on September 15 and resume in both directions on November 1. The parallel rail bridge was not damaged.
kyiv says the Russians don’t have to spend their holidays in the occupied territory, especially while Moscow is bombing Ukraine.
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