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European Union comments on partial opening of Kerch bridge in Russian-occupied Crimea

16 May 2018

On May 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in the opening ceremony of the automotive section of the Crimean Bridge - a super 19-kilometre-long construction from mainland Russia to the Crimean Peninsula.

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.

"At last, thanks to your talent this project, this miracle has happened", Putin told the crowd of workers. During World War II the occupying Nazis also began building a bridge but abandoned the project.

"The Russian occupying powers, which have temporarily occupied Crimea, are continuing to act outside worldwide law", Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman told AFP in an interview.

Putin, at the wheel of a heavy KAMAZ truck, drove the full 19 km (12 miles) across the bridge from the Kerch Strait, which some Russians call "Putin's bridge" and which is created to link Crimea into Russia's transport network.

The United States said the bridge opening was an attempt to solidify Moscow's "unlawful seizure" of the Ukrainian territory.

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Sergei Tsekov, Senator from the Republic of Crimea, a member of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, told Pravda.Ru that the bridge has established direct connection with Russia.

This is said in a statement made by the European External Action Service on Tuesday.

British Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan said it was "a further example of Russia's reckless behaviour". In social networks this event is discussed as the completion of the "project of the century", which took 27 months and nearly 7 billion rubles.

After Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014, the peninsula found itself between a rock and a hard place. Some Russians are calling it "Putin's bridge", created to link Crimea into Russia's transport network.

The state contract for the construction of the bridge provided for the launch of the automotive section in December 2018, but the first stage of the project has been delivered six months ahead of the deadline. Auto traffic on the bridge will start on may 16 at 5.30 am.

European Union comments on partial opening of Kerch bridge in Russian-occupied Crimea