Russia ‘to repair blast damage by July 2023’

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Russia’s government has ordered contractors to finish repairs to a key bridge linking annexed Crimea to Russia by July 2023.

The bridge was damaged by a blast last Saturday which officials say left at least three people dead.

Russia blamed Ukraine for the attack but Kyiv has not said it was behind it.

The 19km (12-mile) bridge, Europe’s longest, is a key supply route for Russian forces in Ukraine, but heavy goods vehicles are unable to use it.

The explosion caused midway sections of one of the two carriageways of the bridge to collapse into the sea and also damaged the railway line.

Currently, lorries are forced to queue for a ferry, in a process which is thought to take several days.

The bridge has, however, been reopened for rail and light road traffic.