Crimea bridge repairs to be finished by July 2023 – Russian government document

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MOSCOW, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Repairs to the bridge between the annexed Crimean peninsula and southern Russia, which was damaged in an explosion last Saturday, are to be finished by July 2023, a document published on the Russian government’s website said.

The Crimea bridge, a showcase project of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule, was damaged in a blast that Russia has blamed on Ukraine. Some Ukrainian officials celebrated the incident but Kyiv has not claimed reponsibility.

A handout satellite image made available by Maxar Technologies shows a close view of traffic and bridge repair work on the collapsed part of the Kerch Strait bridge in Crimea. EPA-EFE/MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES HANDOUTS

In Other Developments:

* Evacuees from Ukraine’s southern Kherson region were expected to begin arriving in Russia on Friday after a Moscow-installed official suggested residents should leave for safety, a sign of Moscow’s weakening hold on territory it claims to have annexed.

* A Russian region adjoining Ukraine said it was preparing to receive refugees from the Russian-held part of Kherson.

FIGHTING

* Ukraine’s armed forces have re-taken more than 600 settlements in the past month, including 75 in the strategic Kherson region, the government said.

* Damage to the bridge between the annexed Crimean peninsula and southern Russia won’t be repaired until next summer, a document published on the Russian government’s website said, after an explosion last week.

* Russian-backed forces have made tactical advances in the last three days towards the centre of Bakhmut, a strategically important town in the eastern Donetsk region, and likely advanced into villages south of the town, Britain said.

* The governor of a Russian border region accused Ukraine of shelling an apartment block but a Kyiv official said a stray Russian missile was to blame – one of a series of apparent strikes on Russian towns.

* Reuters was not able to verify battlefield reports.

* NATO said it will closely monitor an expected Russian nuclear exercise but will not be cowed into dropping support for Ukraine.

* Zelenskiy accused the International Committee of the Red Cross of inaction in upholding the rights of Ukrainian prisoners of war and urged it to undertake a mission to Olenivka – a notorious camp in eastern Ukraine.

DIPLOMACY

* Kremlin spokesperson Peskov was quoted as saying in Izvestia newspaper that the goals of Russia’s “special military operation” could be achieved through negotiations.

ECONOMY

* French food company Danone DANO.PA announced plans to shed its dairy and plant-based food business in Russia in a transaction which could result in a up to 1 billion euro ($978.10 million) write-off.

* Russia has submitted concerns to the United Nations about an agreement on Black Sea grain exports, and is prepared to reject renewing a deal next month unless its demands are addressed, Russia’s U.N. ambassador in Geneva told Reuters.

* Russian President Putin courted Turkish President Erdogan with a plan to pump more Russian gas via Turkey that would turn it into a new supply “hub”, bidding to preserve Russia’s energy leverage over Europe.

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