Russia-Crimea bridge to be opened by Vladimir Putin

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian President Vladimir Putin drove a truck across a new bridge connecting mainland Russia to Moscow-annexed Crimea Tuesday, a project Ukraine has condemned as a violation of global law.

"The Russian occupying powers, which have temporarily occupied Crimea, are continuing to act outside worldwide law", Volodymyr told the French news agency.

He got behind the wheel in the cabin of a Kamaz truck to lead a convoy of 35 vehicles (dump trucks, cranes, cement trucks, tanker trucks and other equipment) along the 19-kilometer bridge towards the Crimean seaside city of Kerch.

He was referring to Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, who first proposed such a bridge, but the outbreak of World War I prevented it going ahead.

The works on the construction have begun in May 2015, regardless the withdrawal.

The 12-mile road and rail bridge is the only land link between Russia with the Black Sea peninsula, seized by Russian forces from Ukraine in 2014.

"Putin once more demonstrated that when he carries them out, even the most ambitious plans can be achieved", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Tuesday.

The four-lane road bridge is opening ahead of schedule as it was due to be completed in December.

Originally, the bridge was expected to be built before 2018 and put into operation in the summer of 2019.

"We plan to open the truck traffic this fall; such date is planned to date", the official said responding to a question whether the bridge becomes open for trucks from October 1.

Nevertheless, a Levada poll in March found 70 percent of Russians thought taking Crimea had been beneficial.

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