Russia temporarily bans cargo transport on Crimean bridge
Russia announces that it is banning trucks from transporting cargo across the Crimean bridge days after construction on the vital infrastructure project was completed.
The Russian Transport Ministry announced Saturday that any vehicle with a carrying capacity of more than 1.5 tonnes will be temporarily banned from crossing the Crimean bridge starting Sunday.
"From 00:00 on December 11, 2022, drivers of trucks with a carrying capacity of more than 1.5 tonnes, when crossing the Kerch Strait, should choose an alternative land road route for travel or use a ferry crossing," the Russian ministry advised.
"These vehicles will temporarily be banned from crossing the Crimean Bridge," the announcement added.
Moscow then noted that it would later announce the removal of the restrictions that have been put in place, adding that cars and buses would still be able to cross the bridge as usual.
The measures have been put in place after a truck exploded on the bridge in early October in a terror act that caused seven fuel tanks of a freight train to catch fire, ultimately killing four people.
Russia officially accused Ukranian special forces and military intelligence unit of carrying out the attack.
The incident prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to sign a decree enhancing security measures for the Crimean bridge.
"The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation shall be vested with the authority to organize and coordinate protection measures for the Kerch Strait transport crossing, the power grid's energy bridge between the Russian Federation and the Crimean Peninsula, along with the main gas pipeline between the Krasnodar Region and Crimea during their operation," the Kremlin said at the time.
"This is done to enhance the efficiency of protection measures for the transport crossing, the energy bridge, and the gas pipeline across the Kerch Strait," the statement explained.
Less than two months after the devastating explosion, Putin, along with Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, drove a car across the Crimean bridge, passing through the newly repaired area of the bridge.
Khusnullin briefed Russia's head of state on the details of the repairs of the road, including the number of workers that took part in the restoration process and the remaining repairs needed to be accomplished.
#Putin, along with the Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, made a car drive across #Crimea's bridge passing through the newly repaired area of the bridge that was previously targeted earlier in October with a truck-bomb attack. pic.twitter.com/JKtH0SayG4— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) December 6, 2022
Putin had stressed to builders repairing its infrastructure that it is vital for Crimea to be connected by land with the rest of the country as Kiev threats against the bridge increase.
"Putin had a brief conversation with employees working on the bridge. Amid continued threats, officially voiced by Kiev, of possible new attacks against the Crimean bridge and related infrastructure, Putin stressed the importance of the land road connecting Crimea with the rest of Russia" Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.