Vladimir Putin drives truck across new bridge linking Crimea to Russian Federation


Russian President Vladimir Putin is licensed to drive heavy trucks, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS, when asked if the president had the right to take a seat at the wheel of a Kamaz truck for a ride along the Crimean Bridge at the dedication ceremony on Tuesday.

Opening the bridge across the Kerch Strait is an attempt to legitimize the annexation of part of Ukraine's territory. Petro Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine posted this on Facebook.

Kerch bridge will definitely need the invaders, when they to flee Crimea, says the Ukrainian President.

The spokesperson of the European External Action Service said in a statement on Tuesday the bridge was "another violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity". Many in Russia saw the move as restoring Moscow's rule over a historically Russian region.

Construction of the so-called Kerch Strait Bridge to the Crimean peninsula temporarily occupied by Russian Federation is another violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russian Federation.

Ukraine has condemned the project, which cost 228 billion rubles ($3.7 billion).

The construction is one of Putin's legacy projects, after the massive renovation of the Black Sea city of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2012 opening of the world's longest cable-stayed bridge in the far eastern city of Vladivostok.

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At the other end of the 19-kilometer bridge, in Crimea, Putin attended a brief open air show.

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

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

"France condemns the construction by Russian Federation of the Kerch Bridge, which deprives Ukraine of full access and the use of its internationally recognized territorial waters", a French foreign ministry spokesperson said.

In July 2017, the bridge's arch for road traffic was installed.

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