THE KERCH STRAIT: 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 international law.
Putin, at the wheel of a heavy KAMAZ truck, drove the full 19 km (12 miles) across the bridge from the Kerch Strait, which some Russians call “Putin´s bridge” and which is designed to link Crimea into Russia´s transport network. At a ceremony broadcast live on state TV, Putin, dressed in blue jeans, was met by cheering workers on the Crimean side after driving the orange-coloured truck across the bridge in a small convoy of vehicles. “At last, thanks to your talent this project, this miracle has happened,” Putin told the crowd of workers. In Kiev, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said: “The illegal construction of the Kerch bridge is the latest evidence of the Kremlin´s disregard for international law. It is particularly cynical that its opening is happening on the eve of the latest anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean-Tatar people by the Stalin regime.”