Russians will need bridge over Kerch Strait when they abandon Crimea, - Poroshenko

Russians will need bridge over Kerch Strait when they abandon Crimea, - Poroshenko

Russians will need bridge over Kerch Strait when they abandon Crimea, - Poroshenko

Now he has taken on the role of trucker to unveil a new road-and-rail bridge linking Russian Federation to the annexed Crimean peninsula.

Russian state television showed Putin dressed in jeans and a casual jacket sit behind the wheel of a construction truck with workers to drive 19 kilometres (12 miles) across the bridge, which links the Taman peninsula in southern Russian to Ukraine's Crimea peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014. Once it opens for traffic on Wednesday, it will be able to carry up to 40,000 cars per day.

"Let's hit the road!" the president exclaimed before jumping into the cab of the truck.

During World War II the occupying Nazis also began building a bridge but abandoned the project.

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.

Ukraine, which along with most of the global community has not recognized Russia's annexation of Crimea, condemned the project.

The Ukrainian government reacted to the opening with anger.

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Russian Federation annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, drawing sanctions and prompting a deterioration in ties with the West.

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.

Putin also briefly thanked all who participated in the construction, which was conducted predominantly by a company belonging to Arkady Rotenberg, an old friend of Putin who has benefited from lucrative contracts handed out by the Kremlin, and who is now on the European Union sanctions list.

The bridge will make the peninsula easier to reach from southern Russian Federation.

Due to the blocks imposed by Kiev and Western sanctions, a large amount of food is now transported to the peninsula from Russian Federation by ship, meaning the bridge will play an important role in reducing the region's reliance on sea transport.

"They want to have Soviet Union back", Poroshenko said, adding that he believes Putin, who was sworn in May 7 for his fourth term as president, wants to reconquer Ukraine and rebuild the "Russian Empire". The bridge was completed six months ahead of schedule. The bridge was finished months ahead of the deadline, which had been set for the end of the year.

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