Putin opens Crimean Bridge

Posted May 16, 2018

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

"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.

Vladimir Putin has opened a bridge that will serve as Russia's only road link to Crimea, demonstrating Moscow's control over the annexed peninsula and easing its residents' isolation.

Putin drove the Russian-made KAMAZ dump truck in a convoy of vehicles across the 19-kilometre bridge over the Kerch Strait.

Because of blocks imposed by Kiev, in addition to Western sanctions, a large amount of food is now shipped to the peninsula from Russian Federation, so the bridge will play an important role in reducing the region's reliance on sea transport.

Putin thanked the organizers of the project, who put the interests of the state over those of particular groups, the sappers, ecologists, scientists and other sectors involved. "Particularly cynical is the fact that its discovery comes on the eve of the anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people by the Stalinist regime", - wrote Poroshenko. Once it opens for traffic on Wednesday, it will be able to carry up to 40,000 cars per day.

Ukraine has condemned the project, which cost 228 billion rubles ($3.7 billion). But many in Russia saw the move as restoring Moscow's rule over a historically Russian region. "Many didn't believe these plans were possible", Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony.

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

The railway bridge is not yet finished and has a deadline of the end of 2019.