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    Truck traffic resumes over bridge linking Russia with Estonia

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    Heavy truck traffic across a bridge linking Russia and Estonia has been resumed, the Estonian customs authorities said Thursday.

    TALLINN, May 17 (RIA Novosti) - Heavy truck traffic across a bridge linking Russia and Estonia has been resumed, the Estonian customs authorities said Thursday.

    On May 9, Moscow closed the bridge across the Narova River, which connects the Estonian town of Narva with Ivan-Gorod in Russia, for trucks with a capacity over 3.5 tons, citing its "unsafe condition." It later limited the restriction to trucks with a capacity over 13.5 tons.

    Estonian authorities said Thursday the restrictions had been lifted on all heavy trucks, and traffic resumed late Wednesday after Russia's ambassador had been summoned to the Estonian Foreign Ministry in connection with the bridge closure.

    The Druzhba (Friendship) bridge is a major customs and border crossing point, with around 150-200 trucks crossing it daily. Tallinn said that an agreement between Estonia and Russia requires that each side must inform the other of any border restrictions within 90 days.

    Estonia's share in Russia's trade turnover is about 0.7%, with the former mainly supplying sea products to Russia. Mineral resources, including oil and iron ore, make up 75% of Russian exports to the small Baltic nation, which also imports timber from Russia and is a crucial transit point for Russian energy supplies to Western Europe.

    Some Russian politicians have demanded economic measures to punish the Baltic state for removing a Soviet-era war memorial from the center of its capital. The move triggered violent protests among Russian speakers in Estonia and youth rallies in Russia, and the two countries have continued to exchange rebukes and threats.

    A handful of Russian companies have suspended their business ties with the ex-Soviet state over the dispute, but the government has not responded with sanctions against Estonia, whose business community is dominated by ethnic Russians.

    But Tallinn could delay a $10.5-billion pipeline to pump gas from Russia to Germany on the Baltic Sea bed. Estonia and Finland have demanded a thorough environmental assessment of the ambitious project to eventually supply 55 billion cubic meters to Europe, bypassing transit countries.

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