Putin opens Crimean Bridge

Arturo Kim
May 15, 2018

Vladimir Putin has opened a bridge between the Russian mainland and Crimea, tightening Russia's hold over the contested peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

The Russian president attended the symbolic opening ceremony on Tuesday, dressed in jeans and a windbreaker, instead of his usual business suit. Petro Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine posted this on Facebook.

A photo taken in April of the bridge over the Kerch Strait created to connect the Russian mainland with Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Many in Russia saw the move as restoring Moscow's rule over a historically Russian region.

Ukraine has condemned the project, which was personally championed by Putin, saying construction has damaged the environment and that larger ships will be unable to get through to its ports on the Azov Sea.

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.

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Built at a cost of 223 billion roubles ($3.6 billion US), it will be the longest dual-purpose span bridge in Europe. "Many didn't believe these plans were possible", Kremlin spokesman told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony. The railway section of the bridge is scheduled to open in late 2019.

"France condemns the construction by Russian Federation of the Kerch Bridge, which deprives Ukraine of full access and the use of its internationally recognized territorial waters", a French foreign ministry spokesperson said.

Over 10,000 people worked to complete the Crimean Bridge six months ahead of schedule.

Putin is known to drive automobiles himself from time to time during working trips about the country. Download The for your device.in English and other languages.

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