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Symbolic action: Putin drives a car over the Crimean bridge

Symbolic action: Putin drives a car over the Crimean bridge

This is Putin’s first visit to the annexed Ukrainian peninsula since the start of Russia’s military offensive on February 24. “Vladimir Putin drove his car over the Crimean bridge, which was being repaired after the explosion in October,” the Kremlin said. Deputy Prime Minister Marat Chusnulin reported to the head of state the progress of the repair work from the passenger seat.

“We drive on the right side,” Putin said in the footage. “The left side of the bridge is working as far as I know, but it is not completed yet,” the chief said. “He’s still struggling a little bit, and we have to get him in perfect shape.” Putin also walked over parts of the bridge to inspect parts where damage from the blast was still visible.

APA / AFP / Sputnik / Michael Metzl

Putin during the visit

Explosion after Putin’s birthday

The 19-kilometre bridge is a groundbreaking infrastructure project: Putin himself provided some of the funding and opened the bridge personally in 2018, and the contractor was his childhood friend Arkady Rotenberg. The explosion occurred just hours after Putin’s 70th birthday on October 7. The visit may also be a nod to the Crimeans: After explosions occurred at the military bases there, many people, especially Russians, fled the peninsula. Now it’s safe again, you should probably mediate the car trip.

Putin drives a car over the Crimean bridge

The Kremlin released a video showing Russian President Vladimir Putin driving a Mercedes across the bridge into Crimea, which was partially destroyed in October. The explosion was seen at the time as a personal setback for Putin.

Recently, Putin has also called Russia’s bombing of Ukrainian infrastructure Moscow’s “inevitable” response to attacks on Ukraine – and explicitly mentioned the Crimean Bridge.

Again Russian missiles on Ukraine

Russia launched another heavy missile attack on Ukraine on Monday. On Monday, Ukrainian authorities said that 60 of the 70 launched missiles had been intercepted. Authorities in the southern Zaporizhia region said two people were killed in the bombing. Several homes were destroyed there. In the northern Sumy region, electricity was cut off after a rocket hit, one of the energy suppliers explained. An air alert has been sounded across Ukraine. Residents were told to go to shelters.

According to information, air defense was also deployed in Kyiv. Authorities said nine of the 10 incoming rockets there were intercepted. Thus the capital, with a population of about three million, apparently escaped serious damage. However, the governor of the Kyiv region said 40 percent of the region’s residents were without electricity after an unspecified infrastructure hit.

UN Commissioner for Human Rights in the shelter

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, who was visiting Kyiv, wrote on the SMS service Twitter that he had to continue the meeting in a shelter. “It is unbelievable that this happens almost every day in Kyiv,” he said.

Recently, Russia has repeatedly attacked Ukraine’s energy and water supplies with missiles after the Russian ground forces had to withdraw from some occupied areas. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated in a video that repairing the damage had already begun. At the same time, he emphasized: “Our people never surrender.” After military setbacks, Moscow has launched missiles at Ukraine’s energy infrastructure eight times since October. Large parts of the country only have hourly electricity.

Explosions at Russian military bases

The renewed missile attacks on the neighboring country were preceded by explosions at two air bases in Russia, hundreds of kilometers from Ukraine, at night. And one such base, the Engels base in the Saratov region about 730 km south of Moscow, is home to the bombers of Russia’s Strategic Nuclear Forces. Russia’s state news agency reported that three people were killed when a fuel truck exploded at the Ryazan air base, 185 km southeast of Moscow.

Russia blamed Ukraine for the attacks. The Ministry of Defense in Moscow announced Monday evening: “On the morning of December 5, the Kyiv regime attempted to attack Diaghilevo airfields in the Ryazan region and Engels in the Saratov region with Soviet-made drones in order to disrupt Russia’s long-term aircraft.” Previously, Kyiv was have already indicated participation.

Find Russian missile parts in Moldova

Meanwhile, the government of the former Soviet Republic of Moldova expressed reservations about part of the missile that was found on its territory near the Ukrainian border. “I learned that border guards found part of a missile near Prichini,” Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said on Monday. The area has been cordoned off at the site, just a few kilometers from the Ukrainian border. The incident is being investigated by the authorities.

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