The Opening of the Kerch Bridge in Crimea

Casey Dawson
May 17, 2018

The 19-kilometer bridge, now the longest in Europe, links Russia's Krasnodar region with the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russian Federation from Ukraine in 2014.

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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin drove a dump truck across the 19-kilometer bridge on Tuesday, leading a convoy of vehicles.

The 19-km bridge is the largest in Russian Federation built so far and the cost of the project is estimated at around 228 billion rubles (about 3.6 billion US dollars). We call on Russian Federation not to impede this shipping.

In a post on Facebook, the Russian embassy in the U.S. said: "As one could predict, Washington is not happy with that". The Crimean Bridge originates on the Taman Peninsula, runs through a five-kilometer dike area and the Island of Tuzla, then crosses the Kerch Strait and reaches the Crimean coast.

The US State Department on Tuesday condemned the partial opening of the bridge across the Kerch Strait. Crimea's only other land crossing leads into Ukraine and, until now, vehicles traveling from Russian Federation have had to rely on ferries across the strait that are frequently interrupted by bad weather. "Many didn't believe these plans were possible", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

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This was the response to the United States, which condemned the opening of the Kerch Strait bridge between Russian Federation and Crimea.

Russian Federation annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has since been trying to integrate the peninsula more closely.

In the meantime, the first deputy chairman of Russia's upper chamber of parliament's worldwide affairs committee in a comment to RBC dismissed the criticism of the State Department as "evil-hearted" and noted that the Crimea has been a Russian region since 2014.

"Today, both in a practical sense and from a symbolic point of view, is an extremely important day", he added. When a rail section is completed in 2019, according to state media, the bridge will be able to carry 40,000 cars and 47 trains a day.

The Russian embassy in the USA defended the bridge in a Facebook post. A parallel railway bridge will be ready late next year.

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