After explosion on Crimea bridge, Putin signs decree to tighten security

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on enhancing security measures for the Crimea bridge, the Kremlin said on Saturday, following the explosion at the bridge that killed at least three people.

In a statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin also called for securing the energy bridge and the gas pipeline connecting the peninsula with mainland Russia.

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“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,” TASS quoted the document.

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 report added.

A truck exploded on the road bridge, causing seven fuel tanks of a train heading to the Crimean Peninsula to catch fire. Three people were killed in the blast, which also led to the partial collapse of two spans of the road bridge, according to media reports.

Traffic reopened to cars and buses with a full inspection procedure needed on the road route of the Crimean Bridge, after an explosion on the viaduct on Saturday. Crimea`s head Sergei Aksyonov said that trucks are still required to cross the Kerch Strait by ferry.

An initial assessment of the railway part of the Crimean Bridge has been carried out, and restoration work is underway, the Russian Ministry of Transport said.

The bridge was opened in 2018 by President Vladimir Putin, four years after Moscow annexed Crimea, and was designed to link the peninsula to Russia`s transport network.

The 19-kilometer bridge, which runs across the Kerch Strait and connects Crimea with mainland Russia, consists of a railway and vehicle sections. It became fully operational in 2020.

Earlier, the transport ministry had said the bridge, which consists of two parallel routes for automobiles and trains, will possibly open to trains by 8 pm Moscow time (1700 GMT) on Saturday.

“In light of the emergency situation on the Crimean Bridge, Putin heard reports from Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, Emergencies Minister Alexander Kurenkov and Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev, as well as heads of security services,” the Kremlin statement said.

Putin instructed the Prime Minister to set up a government commission to investigate the incident and eliminate the aftermath as soon as possible.

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