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Russia is rebuilding its vital link: the Crimean bridge

Satellite images show that a critical bridge on the Crimean peninsula damaged by an explosion under mysterious circumstances in October has been extensively repaired. The Kerch Bridge was called the "construction of the century" by Russian media when it originally opened in 2018, four years after Moscow illegally annexed Crimea. The explosion has severely hampered Russia's ability to keep supplies to its troops, forcing them to resort to a limited ferry service across the Kerch Strait. Although not yet fully completed, construction appears premature.

Removing the damage and starting repairs began soon after the explosion on 8 October. Cranes were dispatched to the site to remove the four collapsed sections of the road.

Throughout November, the cloud cover analyzed satellite images of the reconstruction impossible, but social media posts from Russian sources and regional news provide further insight into the process.

"The bridge has certainly been repaired much faster than is normal in civil engineering projects," says Dr. Andrew Barr, a civil and structural engineering researcher. "But the prioritization of the resources involved in restoring a military and political asset changes things significantly, especially in a country at war," he says.

President Putin visited the bridge on 5 December, and the Kremlin posted a video saying he was driving a vehicle with a repair section explaining the project. Putin was told by a worker that traffic was due to resume on 20 December but that "accelerated construction" allowed that section to open sooner.

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