Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Putin Drives Truck In Crimean Bridge Opening Ceremony

Putin Drives Truck In Crimean Bridge Opening Ceremony

A photo taken in April of the bridge over the Kerch Strait created to connect the Russian mainland with Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

"Today Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially dedicated the first section of the Crimean Bridge".

I congratulate you for this truly historic feat, said the head of state, who raised his microphone in a stage prepared for the occasion in order to celebrate an event that already became the pride of Russian engineering because there was no foreign participation.

Putin, who was re-elected for a fourth Kremlin term in March extending his long rule, pledged to build more of "such projects" across Russian Federation.

"They want to have Soviet Union back", Poroshenko said, adding that he believes Putin, who was sworn in May 7 for his fourth term as president, wants to reconquer Ukraine and rebuild the "Russian Empire".

Putin annexed Crimea in March 2014 following a hastily called local vote.

Construction of the bridge has been carried out since February 2016 and will be opened for cars on May 16 more than half a year ahead of schedule.

Built at a cost of 223 billion roubles ($3.6 billion), the bridge will be the longest dual-purpose span in Europe.


Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman condemned the project, saying it has damaged the environment and that larger ships will not be able to pass through its ports on the Azov Sea.

"Putin initiated this project himself".

The opening ceremony drew criticism from the West.

"Putin once more demonstrated that when he carries them out, even the most ambitious plans can be achieved", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Tuesday.

The spokesperson of the European External Action Service said in a statement on Tuesday the bridge was "another violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity".

The road stretch of the bridge was due to be completed by the end of 2018, but the opening was moved up at Putin's request.

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

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