State Department Harsh on Russia Over Crimean Bridge

Putin opens Russian bridge linking it to annexed Crimea as he boasts that he has managed 'what the tsars could not'

Putin opens bridge to Crimea, Russia's first road link with annexed peninsula

Like many key moments of Putin's presidency, it was a made-for-TV event created to showcase his resolve and authority.

One camera in the cab of the truck captured his small talk with a construction worker who was along for the ride and broadcast it across state media.

"Putin initiated this project himself".

"Crimea is part of Ukraine, and its annexation by Russian Federation is a breach of global law".

Omelyan noted that, in addition to limiting the tonnage, the construction of the Kerch Bridge might lead to the closure of the passage through the Kerch Strait.

Conditions there have deteriorated since late March, when Ukraine seized a Russian fishing vessel it said had violated its territorial waters, analyst Paul Goble of the U.S. Jamestown Foundation think tank wrote earlier this month.

Spokeswoman of the State Department Heather Nauert has noted that the construction of the bridge affects the navigation.

"We shall not ask for anybody's permission to build transport infrastructure for the sake of Russia's population", the Russian embassy said on Twitter. "The invaders will need the bridge when they have to urgently leave our Crimea".

The bridge can support up to 40,000 passenger cars a day, becoming the quickest way to reach Crimea, a popular vacation and tourist destination for Russians. In 1954, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred control of Crimea from Russian Federation to Ukraine, and regaining the region has been a nationalist rallying cry for decades.

The referendum was also said to be unconstitutional by the Ukrainian Constitutional Court and the UN.

The bridge opening represents a milestone in Putin's efforts to show the world - and his people - that the annexation of Crimea was irreversible. The West responded swiftly with crippling economic sanctions. On Tuesday, state television predicted that it would bring many new tourists and lower food prices in Crimea.

When they were still friends, back in 1994, Russian Federation and Ukraine tried to work together on a bridge project, but this idea failed too.

Putin, dressed in jeans and a jacket, was on the Russian side of the four-lane bridge with a length of 12 miles, together with to build his business magnate Arkady Rotenberg, a former partner of the President of the judo.

Ukraine will suffer direct losses due to the forced reduction of the tonnage of vessels that will have to navigate under the Crimean Bridge to enter the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk.

Asked on state television whether global sanctions had interfered with the project, Rotenberg responded: "Those who wanted to interfere helped us instead". In fact, the whole country worked on this bridge.

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