Putin opens new bridge to Crimea, provoking Ukraine, Western ire

Putin opens new bridge to Crimea, provoking Ukraine, Western ire

Ukraine has publicly shown their dissatisfaction and disapproval in the scenario, stating that the construction of this bridge showed blatant disregard for worldwide law; the new intrusion in the waterway was also going to harm the ships and other water traffic by disrupting their route through the Black Sea.

The peninsula has until now been hard to access from southern Russian Federation with long queues of vehicles often trying to board ferries, which are not always able to run during winter storms. Vehicle traffic on the bridge will start on may 16 at 5.30 am.

After receiving a briefing from the construction firm, owned by his childhood friend Arkady Rotenberg, Putin jumped into an orange Kamaz truck with two engineers to lead several dozen trucks across the span.

"Let's hit the road!" the president exclaimed before jumping into the cab of the truck.

In March elections, Russians overwhelmingly voted for Putin to serve a fourth Kremlin term, but an opinion poll by the independent Levada centre found 45 percent of the population think he is failing to ensure that the country's oil and gas revenues trickle down to benefit ordinary people.

Crimea was annexed from Ukraine following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and takeover of the area by pro-Russian separatists and armed forces.

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TV host Andrei Kondrashov, who was chairman of Putin's victorious re-election campaign, this year described the bridge as "one more reason for Russians to be proud".

About 11.8 miles long, the bridge is the longest in Europe, linking Russia's southern Krasnodar region to the port of Kerch in Crimea. Reporters and cameras were stationed at several spots along the route.

Any automobile part of the bridge was provided by about 600 emergency workers.

But for others the structure has become a bridge too far.

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

In Kiev, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said: "The illegal construction of the Kerch bridge is the latest evidence of the Kremlin's disregard for worldwide law".

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