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World: Putin Drives on Crimea Bridge Hit by Blast, Orders Full Repair

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(Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday drove a Mercedes car across a flagship bridge to occupied Crimea that was seriously damaged in an explosion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, flanked by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin (L), visits the Kerch Strait Bridge, also known as the Crimean Bridge on December 5, 2022. © Photographer: Mikhail Metzel/Getty Images/AFP Russian President Vladimir Putin, flanked by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin (L), visits the Kerch Strait Bridge, also known as the Crimean Bridge on December 5, 2022.

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“We’re driving across the right side” of the bridge, Putin told Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin seated beside him in the vehicle, in footage broadcast on state TV. “The left side as far as I understand is in working condition but it needs to be fully restored.”

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At one point, Putin pulled up to the location where the Oct. 8 blast took place and got out of the car to discuss repairs to the road and rail span across the Kerch Strait, which he ordered built after annexing Crimea in 2014.

The Kremlin blamed an act of “terrorism” by Ukraine for the explosion that ignited a fuel train and caused the partial collapse of the road bridge into the sea.

Ukrainian officials didn’t claim responsibility for the attack on the bridge, which was being used to help supply Russia’s invasion forces in southern Ukraine. But the country’s postal service quickly announced a new stamp noting the blast.

Russia raced to reopen one lane of traffic for light vehicles and a partial train service to the peninsula.

Putin opened the 19-kilometer (12 mile) bridge in 2018 by driving a truck at the head of a column of vehicles along it. Construction costs were about $3.7 billion.

Russia assembles a 'shadow fleet' of more than 100 oil tankers as Putin tries to bust western sanctions, report says

  Russia assembles a 'shadow fleet' of more than 100 oil tankers as Putin tries to bust western sanctions, report says Shipping brokers and analysts told the Financial Times Moscow has quietly added tankers this year and comes as Europe imposes a price cap on Russian oil.But no facet of the 39-year-old's life has put her in the international spotlight more than her long-rumored, never-confirmed relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Friday.

The Russian leader said Monday that Russia also needs to guarantee a link with Crimea on land via Ukrainian regions that Russia has annexed, though it doesn’t control any of them fully.

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'Only one option': Pro-Russian commander urges nuclear war with NATO as Ukraine regains ground .
'Only one option': Pro-Russian commander urges nuclear war with NATO as Ukraine regains groundKhodakovsky's remarks come after weeks of significant defeats by Ukraine's defense forces, who have the backing of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization coalition led by the United States. On October 5th, Putin illegally annexed four territories Eastern Ukraine following September 30th's sham referenda, however, Russia has made no discernible gains and has been trumped by Ukrainian freedom fighters in key cities such as Kherson despite Putin's implementation of a domestic conscription.

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