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Putin opens bridge to Crimea, Russia's first road link with annexed peninsula

16 May 2018

Built at a cost of 223 billion roubles ($3.60 billion), the bridge will be the longest dual-purpose span in Europe.

European Union and USA sanctions have targeted those involved in the realization of the bridge, particularly businessman Arkady Rotenberg, a close ally of Putin whose company Stroygazmontazh won the construction contract.

The bridge over the Kerch Strait will be of use for the Russian occupants when they have to leave the Ukrainian peninsula.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is attending the opening ceremony on Tuesday whereas the bridge will start regular operations beginning Wednesday.

Another unsuccessful attempt was made in the 1930s under Joseph Stalin. During World War II the occupying Nazis also began building a bridge but abandoned the project.

He stressed that despite the futile attempts of Moscow to legitimize temporary occupation of Crimea, a coherent solution to a number of worldwide jurisdictions confirm - "the burden of the ideal global crime for Russian Federation will only grow".

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Kerch bridge will definitely need the invaders, when they to flee Crimea, says the Ukrainian President.

The 19-km bridge is the largest in Russian Federation built so far. Up to 40,000 cars a day may cross the bridge travelling at a speed of up to 120 km per hour. The rail section was due to be completed at the end of 2019. "Many didn't believe these plans were possible", Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony. A connecting highway from Kerch to the regional capital of Simferopol is set for completion in 2020.

Ships will be able to pass through an arch of the bridge that is 35 meters high in the deepest part of the strait. It is also created to withstand ice floes in winter.

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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.

Putin opens bridge to Crimea, Russia's first road link with annexed peninsula