Trucker Putin opens Russian Federation bridge link with annexed Crimea

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

The Council of the European Union made a decision to impose sanctions against five individuals for election of the President of Russian Federation to the annexed Crimea, said President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.

"The illegal construction of the Kerch bridge is another evidence of the contempt for global law by the Kremlin".

Found a spelling error? "Particularly cynical is the fact that its discovery comes on the eve of the anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people by the Stalinist regime", - wrote Poroshenko.

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

The project cost 228 billion rubles ($3.69 billion, €3.1 billion) and will become the longest bridge in Europe, taking over the Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon, Portugal.

Today Vladimir Putin inaugurated the road part of the Crimean bridge, driving him behind the wheel of a truck.

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Ukraine has condemned the project, which was personally championed by Putin, saying construction has damaged the environment and that larger ships will be unable to get through to its ports on the Azov Sea.

Head of the Crimean bridge construction Alexander Ostrovsky, the director of SGM-Most - the general contractor for the construction Stroygazmontazh subsidiary, sat next to Mr. Putin in a auto cabin. "Many didn't believe these plans were possible", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony.

It had been expected to be fully constructed by the end of 2018 but has been completed six months ahead of schedule and will be open to traffic on May 16, according to a Kremlin statement.

The Kremlin said the bridge would be opened to cars on Wednesday.

Indeed, the construction of the bridge to the Crimea removes the transport blockade of the Crimea, which will be broken completely when the railway section of the bridge is launched in 2019.

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