Moscow orders Crimea bridge to be repaired by July 2023

Russia suggested Friday that repairs to Crimea’s bridge could take several months following an explosion at the critical supply link, which triggered a barrage of missile strikes against Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, described last week’s explosion at the Crimea Bridge as terrorist act and in retaliation attacked Ukraine for two days using missiles that struck energy facilities and caused blackouts.

In a decree signed in Moscow by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, the Russian cabinet ordered that the company charged with the “design and restoration” of damaged elements of the transport infrastructure and engineering infrastructure of the Crimean Bridge be completed by July 1, 2023.

The completion date gives an indication of how extensive the damage was caused by the explosion on the bridge last Saturday. Officials in Moscow were also cautious about the long-term effects of the incident.

However, they did say that hours after the explosion — which was attributed to Ukraine’s special forces — both rail and road traffic had been restored.

Moscow’s bridge is crucial logistically — it is a vital transport link to move military equipment to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

It is also symbolically important to Putin who inaugurated it in 2018, several years after annexing the peninsula to Ukraine to a chorus of Western condemnation.

Friday’s Kyiv President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that Ukrainian forces would prevail over Russian forces at events marking the country’s first Defender’s Day celebrations.

He also laid a wreath on a monument to soldiers who died since 2014, when Kremlin-backed separatists took control of two eastern areas. In February, he appealed for Russia’s intervention.

“The world is supporting us more than ever. This makes us stronger than ever before in history,” he said, referring to the unprecedented Western aid.

The Ukrainian forces launched a counter-offensive against the south towards the close of the summer, and have been moving closer and closer toward the main city in the Kherson region.

Moscow-installed authorities in the region called for temporary evacuation on Friday. There are reports that Ukrainian forces are gaining ground close to Kherson.

Kirill Stremousov (deputy head of pro-Russian regional administration) stated that the bombardments in the Kherson region pose a danger to civilians and urged residents to travel elsewhere for “rest or recreation.”

Officials from the Lugansk People’s Republic (a separatist region in east Ukraine) stated that “active hostilities” were ongoing within Bakhmut.

According to Russia’s state-run TASS news agency, Andriy Moschko, “Our forces are confidently marching, and liberating that settlement.”

Pramila Patten, a UN envoy, said this week in an interview with AFP that rapes in Ukraine and sexual assaults in Ukraine were part of a Russian military strategy and a deliberate tactic to dehumanize victims.

The UN special representative on sexual violence stated Thursday that “when you hear women testify regarding Russian soldiers equipped with Viagra it’s clearly a military strategy.” It is clear that it was a deliberate tactic to humanize the victims.

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