Putin opens bridge between Crimea and Russian mainland

Geneva Stokes
May 15, 2018

The construction of the Kerch bridge illegally, and Russia's attempts to legitimize the temporary occupation of the Crimean Peninsula - in vain.

The bridge's opening ceremony drew further criticism.

The president crossed the bridge driving the Kamaz truck.

The EU has imposed a range of sanctions over Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, carried out in retaliation for Ukraine ousting its pro-Russian president in what Russia has condemned as a Western-backed coup.

The Russian leader, who was re-elected for a fourth Kremlin term in March extending his long rule, then pledged to build more of "such projects" across Russia.

"Such actions by Moscow fundamentally contradict the generally recognized norms and principles of global law, grossly violate the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 and bilateral treaty obligations to Ukraine", the ministry said in a statement on May 15 when Russian Federation officially opened the bridge.

The project cost 228 billion rubles ($3.69 billion, €3.1 billion) and will become the longest bridge in Europe, taking over the Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Putin is known to drive automobiles himself from time to time during working trips about the country.

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.

"Putin once more demonstrated that when he carries them out, even the most ambitious plans can be achieved", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Tuesday.

"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.

The opening of the bridge comes a day before general traffic will be allowed.

Originally, the bridge was expected to be built before 2018 and put into operation in the summer of 2019. Download The for your device.in English and other languages.

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