Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Crimean Bridge to be open for trucks from October 1

Crimean Bridge to be open for trucks from October 1

Russian Federation annexed Crimea from neighboring Ukraine in 2014, drawing sanctions and prompting a sharp deterioration in ties with the West. But several in the Russian media noticed that Putin was driving the truck across the bridge without his seat belt buckled.

Putin thanked the organizers of the project, who put the interests of the state over those of particular groups, the sappers, ecologists, scientists and other sectors involved.

Being at the wheel of a Kamaz truck, Putin led a column of trucks.

"It is particularly cynical that its opening is happening on the eve of the latest anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean-Tatar people by the Stalin regime".

The Ukrainian side has withdrawn from the treaty with Russian Federation on the construction of the bridge in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea.

The project cost 228 billion rubles ($3.69 billion, €3.1 billion) and will become the longest bridge in Europe, taking over the Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon, Portugal.

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The Kremlin said the bridge would be opened to cars on Wednesday. "Many didn't believe these plans were possible", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony.

"Today, both in a practical sense and from a symbolic point of view, is an extremely important day", he added.

Road authorities have already opened the overpasses leading up to the bridge for drivers and a motorway with a speed limit of around 55 miles per hour will link the Russian and Crimean coastlines.

The bridge was completed six months ahead of schedule.

The bridge's obstruction across the Kerch Strait-the waterway that separates the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov-means that sea traffic from Ukraine's Donetsk, eastern Kherson or Zaporozhye can not sail to the Black Sea and beyond, without being granted access by Russian Federation.

European Union member states made a decision to impose travel bans and asset freezes on five individuals, who held positions in electoral commissions in Crimea, which the European Union considers "actively supporting and implementing policies that undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine".

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