Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Vladimir Putin opens bridge linking Russia with Crimea

Vladimir Putin opens bridge linking Russia with Crimea

The fact that the Crimean bridge is really built for the Ukrainians can only mean one thing - the country is finally and irrevocably lost the Peninsula of Crimea in full became Russian and was linked with it by a bridge as the umbilical cord.

The spokesperson of the European External Action Service said in a statement on Tuesday the bridge was "another violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity".

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The construction of the bridge over the Kerch Strait between the Black and Azov seas started in 2015 following the incorporation of the former Ukrainian republic in 2014 and consequent deterioration of relations between Moscow and Kiev.

Ukraine, which along with most of the global community has not recognised Russia's annexation of Crimea, condemned the project. The bridge across the Kerch Strait consists of parallel road and railway sections.

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U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert in a statement on Tuesday said the "bridge serves as a reminder of Russia's ongoing willingness to flout global law" and said it was an attempt by Russian Federation "to solidify its unlawful seizure and its occupation of Crimea" and impede navigation of the Kerch Strait. But many in Russia saw the move as restoring Moscow's rule over a historically Russian region. In social networks this event is discussed as the completion of the "project of the century", which took 27 months and nearly 7 billion rubles.

European Union and USA sanctions have targeted those involved in the realization of the bridge, particularly businessman Arkady Rotenberg, a close ally of Putin whose company Stroygazmontazh won the construction contract. Once it opens for traffic on Wednesday, it will be able to carry up to 40,000 cars per day. Some Russians are calling it "Putin's bridge", created to link Crimea into Russia's transport network. "Many didn't believe these plans were possible", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony. Originally, the bridge was expected to be built before 2018 and put into operation in the summer of 2019. A connecting highway from Kerch to the regional capital of Simferopol is set for completion in 2020.

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