Russian Federation defends right to build Crimean Bridge

Epa  TassMI5 chief Andrew Parker pulls no punches about Vladimir Putin

Epa TassMI5 chief Andrew Parker pulls no punches about Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the Kerch Strait Bridge on Tuesday - a bridge that connects Russia's Krasnodar region with Crimean land Moscow annexed four years ago.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the opening ceremony for the Crimean Bridge motorway and drives the lead vehicle in a construction equipment convoy.

"At last, thanks to your talent, this project, this miracle, has happened", Putin told the workers.

"I want to sincerely congratulate you with this remarkable, festive and, in the full sense of the word, historic day", he added.

Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 drew sanctions and prompted a deterioration in ties with the West.

"I am confident that the aggressor will not succeed and will bear responsibility in full", Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Facebook, referring to Russian Federation. "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.

The Russian embassy, however, said that "the U.S. remarks were predictable and Moscow was not asking anyone's authorization for building infrastructure projects on its territory". Later that year, the US Treasury Department slapped a series of sanctions on seven companies involved in the construction of the bridge.

PATwo of Jeremy Corbyn's aides have defended President Putin
PATwo of Jeremy Corbyn's aides have defended President Putin

Those sanctions remain in place, and have expanded in the wake of Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential elections.

"Washington is predictably dissatisfied".

The bridge should ease bottlenecks for travelers and goods traveling to and from Russian Federation proper, AFP says. "We will not ask anyone the permission for the construction of the transport infrastructure in the interests of the citizens of the Russian regions", the message said.

Muslim Ummah of Crimea, which also celebrates beginning of the holy month of Ramadan after sunset, considered opening of the Crimean bridge a symbolic and significant event.

Known as the Crimean Bridge, at almost 12 miles it will be the longest not only in the country but also in Europe, overtaking the Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon.

Russian media have documented Putin's close involvement in the project at length.

But for now, the opening of the Crimea bridge is about symbolism as much as it is about building economic links.

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