Putin crosses into Crimea on a bridge repaired after attack

MOSCOW (HPD) — Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to boost Russian morale Monday by driving a vehicle over a bridge into Crimea that was damaged by a truck bomb in October.

Putin took the wheel to cross the bridge linking mainland Russia to the Crimean peninsula, a Ukrainian peninsula that Moscow annexed in 2014.

While driving, Putin discussed repairs to the Crimean Bridge with Marat Khusnulin, a deputy prime minister in charge of the project, a conversation that was broadcast on Russian television.

The president also spoke with workers involved in restoring the 19-kilometer (12-mile) bridge, which has been the main conduit for transporting supplies to Crimea and has served as a key base for Russian military operations in Ukraine.

The October 8 truck bomb attack disrupted traffic in one of the bridge’s two automobile lanes. Russia blamed the attack on Ukrainian military intelligence and responded with several waves of attacks against Ukraine’s energy facilities and other key infrastructure, the most recent on Monday.

Facing Ukraine’s threats to launch new attacks on the bridge, Putin stressed the need to build a highway along the Azov Sea coast to connect Crimea with southern Russian regions, the Kremlin said.

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