Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Putin drives Kamaz truck across newly-opened Crimean bridge

Putin drives Kamaz truck across newly-opened Crimean bridge

Ukraine claims the bridge will also prevent large ships from passing through to the country's ports on the Azov Sea.

"The continues to condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russian Federation and will not recognise this violation of global law", the spokesperson said.

Earlier on Tuesday Putin drove a Kamaz truck at the head of a convoy of construction vehicles along the newly-built bridge after having a quick word with a group of construction workers.

The annexation of the peninsula in 2014 was condemned by Kiev and the West as an illegal land grab but applauded in Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's security service raided the offices of Russian state media in Kiev and detained one journalist, moves the chief editor of Russia's RT television suggested were linked to the bridge opening. Many in Russia saw the move as restoring Moscow's rule over a historically Russian region.

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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has welcomed the decision by the Council of the European Union to impose sanctions against five persons responsible for illegally holding a Russian presidential election in the occupied Crimea and Sevastopol. Up to 40,000 cars a day may cross the bridge travelling at a speed of up to 120 km per hour.

Built at a cost of 223 billion roubles ($3.6 billion US), it will be the longest dual-purpose span bridge in Europe.

European Union and USA sanctions have targeted those involved in building the bridge, principally Putin's close ally, businessman Arkady Rotenberg, whose company Stroygazmontazh won the construction contract. "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.

"Putin initiated this project himself".

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