Rail traffic restarts on Crimea bridge damaged by blast: Russian operator

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Rail traffic on a bridge linking Crimea to the Russian mainland resumed after a blast damaged the structure on Saturday, its operator said in a statement.

Grand Service Express, which operates services between Crimea and Russia, said two trains left the peninsula in the early evening for Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

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“The trains will pass over the Crimean bridge,” the company said on Telegram.

The blast on the bridge over the Kerch Strait, for which Russia did not immediately assign blame, prompted gleeful messages from Ukrainian officials but no direct claim of responsibility.

Russian officials said three people had been killed, probably the occupants of a car traveling near a truck that blew up.

Despite the damage, limited road traffic resumed about 10 hours after the blast.

It now represents a major artery for the Russian forces who have taken control of most of southern Ukraine’s Kherson region, and for the naval port of Sevastopol, whose governor told locals: “Keep calm. Don’t panic.”

It was not yet clear if the blast was a deliberate attack, but the damage to such high-profile infrastructure came at a time when Russia has suffered several battlefield defeats and could further cloud the Kremlin’s messages of reassurance to its public that the conflict is going to plan.

It also took place a day after Putin’s 70th birthday, and coincided with the naming of Air Force General Sergei Surovikin, Russia’s third senior military appointment in the space of a week, to take overall charge of the invasion effort.

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