U.S. objects as Putin drives truck opening bridge to ‘occupied Crimea’

by WorldTribune Staff, May 16, 2018

The United States has condemned Moscow’s opening of the Kerch Strait Bridge between Russia and Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin drives a truck to officially open the bridge linking Russia and the Crimean peninsula. / AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin drove an orange Kamaz truck across the bridge as he opened the road to car traffic on May 15.

“In different historical epochs, even under the tsar priests, people dreamed of building this bridge,” Putin told workers at a ceremony for the bridge’s opening. “Then they returned to this [idea] in the 1930s, the 40s, the 50s. And finally, thanks to your work and your talent, the miracle has happened.”

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

“The United States condemns Russia’s construction and partial opening of the Kerch Strait Bridge between Russia and occupied Crimea, which was done without the permission of the government of Ukraine,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

“Crimea is part of Ukraine. Russia’s construction of the bridge serves as a reminder of Russia’s ongoing willingness to flout international law.”

The 12-mile (19-kilometer), $3.7 billion bridge is Russia’s only direct road link to Crimea.

“The bridge represents not only an attempt by Russia to solidify its unlawful seizure and its occupation of Crimea, but also impedes navigation by limiting the size of ships that can transit the Kerch Strait, the only path to reach Ukraine’s territorial waters in the Sea of Azov. We call on Russia not to impede this shipping,” Nauert said.

The U.S. “has sanctioned numerous individuals and entities involved in this project,” Nauert said. “These and our other Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine.”

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