Russian divers were expected to begin examining the Crimean Bridge on the morning of October 9 after the vital supply route was damaged a day earlier by an apparent truck-bombing.
Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the October 8 blast that sent one span of the 19-kilometer bridge’s highway section tumbling into the Kerch Strait and damaged the rail section.
The bridge, constructed by Russia after its seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, is seen as a key route for supplies to the territory and for supporting Russian forces fighting in southern Ukraine. The bridge has also been used by the Kremlin as a symbol of its control over Crimea.
Russian news agencies have reported that divers would begin work in the morning of October 9 before an inspection above the waterline is conducted later in the day.
Amid news that one lane of traffic had been reopened and repairs allowed for the resumption of rail transportation, Crimea’s Russia-installed governor Sergei Aksyonov said that the “situation is manageable — it’s unpleasant, but not fatal.”
“Of course, emotions have been triggered and there is a healthy desire to seek revenge,” he added.
Kyiv, which has made significant military gains in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories in recent weeks, has demanded that Russian forces leave the Crimean Peninsula.
Russia last month annexed the partially occupied Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya, and Kherson in Ukraine’s south and east and has since pulled back its forces in multiple regions in the face of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
On October 8, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Federal Security Service to take charge of security measures for the Crimea Bridge and other infrastructure on the peninsula.
It remains unclear who was behind the bridge explosion or if it did involve a truck. Russian authorities have alleged that the truck they say carried the bomb was traveling from Russia’s Krasnodar region to Crimea.