Bridge over Kerch Strait is for Russians to abandon Crimea, says Poroshenko

Pauline Gross
May 16, 2018

Construction on the bridge to link Crimea with Russia's Krasnodar region began in February 2016.

"In different historical eras, even under the tsar, people were dreaming of building this bridge", Putin told cheering workers.

Another unsuccessful attempt was made in the 1930s under Joseph Stalin.

Many in Russia saw the bridge as a move toward restoring Moscow's rule over a historically Russian region.

Built at a cost of 223 billion roubles ($3.60 billion), the bridge will be the longest dual-purpose span in Europe. "Let me remind you, on my behalf to the Arbitration Tribunal of the UN Convention on the law of the sea was filed on protecting the sovereign interests of Ukraine, in particular, in connection with the illegal construction of the bridge Kerch", - said Poroshenko.

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

A view of the new bridge linking Russian Federation and the Crimean peninsula prior to its opening ceremony near Kerch, Crimea, Tuesday, May 15, 2018.

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About 10,000 workers participated in the work, a figure that at peak moments of the construction works reached the 15,000, while some 220 national companies contributed to the so-called work of the century, said the president visibly moved.

The bridge makes us stronger and closer to one another, in addition to helping to accelerate the levels of economic development of Crimea, stressed the Russian president, who personally inspected the work in several of its construction stages.

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".

British Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan said it was "a further example of Russia's reckless behaviour". The massive bridge will help reduce Crimea's reliance on sea transport.

After Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014, the peninsula found itself between a rock and a hard place.

Now the peninsula is hard to reach from southern Russian Federation as there are often long queues of vehicles trying to board ferries, which can not always run in winter storms, so the easiest way across is to fly.

Other reports by GizPress

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