Russia-Crimea bridge to be opened by Vladimir Putin

Russia-Crimea bridge to be opened by Vladimir Putin

Built at a cost of 228 billion rubles ($3.7 billion), the new structure connects the southern Krasnodar region with the Crimean city of Kerch, spanning a strait between the Black and Azov seas.

The construction of the bridge began in May 2015.

Russian President Vladmir Putin on May 15 officially unveiled a 19-kilometer-long road bridge linking the annexed Crimean Peninsula with Russian territories across the Kerch Strait. "And finally, thanks to your work and your talent, the miracle has happened".

After the construction equipment convoy crossed the bridge, the head of state addressed a rally marking the opening of the Crimean Bridge motorway.

'It's especially cynical that the bridge is opened shortly before the anniversary of the 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars, conducted by the Stalinist regime (May 18, 1944 - 112 International)', he wrote.

After Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014, the peninsula found itself between a rock and a hard place.

Many in Russia saw the bridge as a move toward restoring Moscow's rule over a historically Russian region.

The cost of the project is estimated at around 228 billion rubles (about 3.6 billion US dollars), according to the project's website.

On Tuesday Putin drove an orange Kamaz truck across the bridge as he opened the road to vehicle traffic.

In celebration, Russian authorities organized pop concerts at both ends of the bridge, events that recalled the massive pro-Kremlin celebrations held in Simferopol and Moscow in 2014 after the invasion and start of the Russian occupation of Crimea. "Many didn't believe these plans were possible", Kremlin spokesman told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony.

European Union member states chose to impose travel bans and asset freezes on five individuals, who held positions in electoral commissions in Crimea, which the European Union considers "actively supporting and implementing policies that undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine".

The European Commission said in a statement that the building of the bridge was an "another violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russian Federation", adding that the new bridge will also hinder the access of Ukrainian shipping to Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov.

Related Articles