Trucker Putin opens Russian Federation bridge link with annexed Crimea

15 May, 2018, 22:41 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Russian

In Kiev, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko slammed Putin's actions.

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

Russian state television showed Putin dressed in jeans and a casual jacket sit behind the wheel of a construction truck with workers to drive 19 kilometres (12 miles) across the bridge, which links the Taman peninsula in southern Russian to Ukraine's Crimea peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.

Russian President, driving a truck, unveiled the auto section of a new road-and-rail bridge linking Russia to the annexed on Tuesday, defying Ukraine which said the move showed cynical disregard for worldwide law. But many in Russia saw the move as restoring Moscow's rule over a historically Russian region.

"I welcome the formal decision of the EU Council to impose sanctions against five individuals responsible for the unlawful conduct of the presidential elections in the temporarily occupied Crimea and Sevastopol", - he wrote.

Built at a cost of 223 billion roubles ($3.60 billion), the bridge will be the longest dual-purpose span in Europe. "Many didn't believe these plans were possible", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony.

Putin, whose popularity rose drastically after Russian Federation invaded and occupied Crimea in the spring of 2014, personally oversaw the project, which started in 2015.

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".

The road stretch of the bridge was due to be completed by the end of 2018, but the opening was brought forward at Putin's request. Up to 40,000 cars a day may cross the bridge travelling at a speed of up to 120 km per hour.

The Soviets managed to finish the bridge in the summer of 1944 using the materials left by the German army, but the bridge was destroyed six months later by ice flows.

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