Tuesday, 22 May, 2018

Putin Drives Across Controversial Bridge Connecting Russia To Crimea

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
Patty Aguilar | 16 May, 2018, 06:40

Such a bridge was first proposed under the last Czar Nicholas II before World War I broke out, preventing it going ahead.

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

The Crimean Bridge overtakes Lisbon's Vasco da Gama Bridge as the longest in Europe.

Ukraine, which along with most of the global community has not recognised Russia's annexation of Crimea, condemned the project, which was personally championed by Putin.

The Ukrainian government reacted to the opening with anger.

The bridge limits the passage of vessels via the Kerch Strait to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, it said.

"The European Union continues to condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russian Federation and will not recognize this violation of global law", the spokesperson said.

The European Union also criticized what it called a fresh assault on Ukraine's territorial integrity.

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

"We continue to work with partners to oppose the annexation, including by maintaining a robust package of sanctions".

Russian President Vladimir Putin has inaugurated the automobile part of the newly-built Kerch Strait Bridge, APA reported citing TASS.

The Crimean bridge stands nearly complete.

Putin, clad in jeans and a jacket, walked on the Russian end of the 12-mile-long, four-lane bridge alongside the business mogul who built it - Arkady Rotenberg, the president's former judo partner.

The peninsula has until now been hard to access from southern Russian Federation with long queues of vehicles often trying to board ferries, which are not always able to run during winter storms.

The 12-mile bridge is the first to connect Russian Federation to the contested peninsula largely recognized as Ukraine's territory. It was originally expected to open in December but was finished ahead of schedule.

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