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Moscow, July 17 Russian authorities on Monday confirmed that an emergency incident on the Kerch bridge that links the country to the occupied Crimean Peninsula left at least two people dead and another person injured.
The governor of Krasnodar, Veniamin Kondratyev, said that an operational headquarter was set up in the Temryuk district of the Krasnodar Territory to coordinate the actions of all services and to assist the people who were stuck in traffic jams near the bridge, reports Xinhua news agency.
Earlier in the day, Sergey Aksyonov, the Russia-appointed head of the occupied Crimea, had announced that traffic on the bridge was halted due to an unspecified emergency near its 145th support column, but did not reveal the cause of the incident.
“Traffic was halted on the Crimean bridge: an emergency happened near the 145th support from the Krasnodar Territory. Law enforcement agencies and all responsible services are working,” Aksyonov said in the statement.
Later, the Russian Ministry of Transport confirmed that the road surface on the Crimean bridge was damaged on the Crimea side, but refuted media reports that claimed supports were also affected.
According to the state-run TASS news agency, the Ministry said the bridge condition was being inspected continuously.
A special group of investigators from the Russian Investigative Committee has arrived at the scene to conduct a probe into the emergency.
In October last year, an attack on the Kerch bridge disrupted major transport links between mainland Russia and the annexed Crimean Peninsula.
Not only did the blast on the brifge struck a blow against Russia’s military effort in Ukraine but also represented a psychological blow for Moscow and a major propaganda victory for Kiev.
Ukrainian officials celebrated the blast at the time but did not claim esponsibility.
It took place a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin turned 70.