Ukraine protests against launch of Kerch bridge in Russian-occupied Crimea


Russian President Vladimir Putin, driving a truck, unveiled the auto section of a new road-and-rail bridge linking Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula on Tuesday, defying Ukraine which said the move showed cynical disregard for worldwide law. On Tuesday, Ukraine blasted Russian Federation for violating global law with the bridge's construction.

A multibillion-dollar bridge between Russian Federation and Crimea, territory annexed by Russian Federation in 2014, will be opened by Vladimir Putin Tuesday.

Ukraine has criticized the project, saying construction has damaged the environment and that larger ships will be unable to get through to its ports on the Azov Sea.

The construction and installation of the bridge kicked off in February 2016.

The peninsula has until now been hard to access from southern Russian Federation with long queues of vehicles often trying to board ferries, which are not always able to run during winter storms.

Another unsuccessful attempt was made in the 1930s under Joseph Stalin.

"Putin once more demonstrated that when he carries them out, even the most ambitious plans can be achieved", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Tuesday.

The automobile track consists of four lanes.

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

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

The bridge is set to open for cars on Wednesday, and its rail portion is set to open next year. It is also created to withstand ice floes in winter.

Nevertheless, a Levada poll in March found 70 percent of Russians thought taking Crimea had been beneficial.