Putin opens bridge connecting Russia to Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimea

Putin opens bridge connecting Russia to Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimea

Putin opens bridge connecting Russia to Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimea

Putin, at the wheel of a heavy KAMAZ truck, drove the full 19 km (12 miles) across the bridge from the Kerch Strait, which some Russians call "Putin's bridge" and which is created to link Crimea into Russia's transport network. "This constitutes another violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russian Federation", the European Union said. Some Russians are calling it "Putin's bridge", created to link Crimea into Russia's transport network.

The annexation of the peninsula in 2014 was condemned by Kiev and the West as an illegal land grab.

He stressed that despite the futile attempts of Moscow to legitimize temporary occupation of Crimea, a coherent solution to a number of global jurisdictions confirm - "the burden of the flawless worldwide crime for Russian Federation will only grow".

Ukraine has condemned the project, which cost 228 billion rubles ($3.7 billion).

A vehicle runs down the 19 km road-and-rail Crimean Bridge passing over the Kerch Strait and linking southern Russian Federation to the Crimean peninsula on May 15, 2018, in Kerch, prior to the opening ceremony. Up to 40,000 cars a day may cross the bridge travelling at a speed of up to 120 km per hour.

European Union and U.S. sanctions have targeted those involved in building the bridge, principally Putin's close ally, businessman Arkady Rotenberg, whose company Stroygazmontazh won the construction contract.

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. "Many didn't believe these plans were possible", Kremlin spokesman told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony.

At the other end of the 19-kilometer bridge, in Crimea, Putin attended a brief open air show. He inspected the bridge in March ahead of the presidential election he won, saying it was important to have the link to the Black Sea peninsula open for the summer tourist season.

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