Putin Officially Opens Massive Bridge Linking Crimea To Russia

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian President Vladimir Putin personally drove a Kamaz trip-truck, heading a column of construction vehicles, across the newly-opened bridge connecting mainland Russia with Crimean Peninsula.

Due to the blocks imposed by Kiev and Western sanctions, a large amount of food is now transported to the peninsula from Russian Federation by ship, meaning the bridge will play an important role in reducing the region's reliance on sea transport. Some Russians are calling it "Putin's bridge", created to link Crimea into Russia's transport network. "Finally, thanks to your labor and your talent this project, this miracle has come true".

"The illegal construction of the Kerch bridge is another evidence of the contempt for worldwide law by the Kremlin. The fact that its opening takes place on the eve of the anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people by the Stalin's regime is especially cynical", he wrote.

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

Meanwhile, Ukraine's security service raided the offices of Russian state media in Kiev and detained one journalist, moves the chief editor of Russia's RT television suggested were linked to the bridge opening.

The cost of the project is estimated at around 228 billion rubles (about 3.6 billion USA dollars), according to the project's website.

"This is an extremely important day from this point of view and in a practical sense and in symbolic terms". The Crimean Bridge is planned to be opened for trucks from October 1 of this year, head of the Russian road transport agency Rosavtodor Roman Starovoit told reporters on Tuesday.

Originally, the bridge was expected to be built before 2018 and put into operation in the summer of 2019.

The bridge's opening ceremony drew further criticism.

"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 spokeswoman said.

European Union member states chose to impose travel bans and asset freezes on five individuals, who held positions in electoral commissions in Crimea, which the European Union considers "actively supporting and implementing policies that undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine".

Ukraine said the move showed cynical disregard for worldwide law.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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