The US State Department accused Russia of flouting international law by building a bridge to “occupied” Crimea without the permission of the government of Ukraine.
“As one could predict, Washington is not happy with that. But Crimea is Russia,” the Embassy of Russia in the USA said in the statement on Tuesday. “We shall not ask for anybody’s permission to build transport infrastructure for the sake of the population of Russian regions.”
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the 19-km long bridge connecting Crimea to Krasnodar Region six months ahead of schedule. The bridge is now open for car traffic. Trucks will be allowed later in the year, while the railway is scheduled to be completed in 2019.
The bridge is the longest in Europe. It begins on the Taman Peninsula, passes over a 5km dam and Tuzla Island, crosses the Kerch Strait and reaches the Crimean coast.
“This is an excellent result that has made Crimea and the legendary Sevastopol stronger and brought us closer,” Putin said at the opening ceremony. “The bridge will mean faster and greater progress for the economy of Crimea and Sevastopol, and will improve the quality of life here.”
The president has pledged to continue realizing such major infrastructure projects all across Russia. “When I say across the country, I mean it. We will build more roads, bridges, airports and ports. We will make our peoples’ lives better and more comfortable,” Putin said.
One of the next projects could be building a mega-bridge to Russia’s largest island Sakhalin, which remains the only Russian territory in the Far East with no mainland connection. Russia is yet to decide what is a better option – digging a tunnel or building a bridge to the island.
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