Putin opens bridge connecting Russia to Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimea

Putin opens bridge connecting Russia to Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimea

Putin opens bridge connecting Russia to Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimea

Ukraine has said the construction of the bridge shows blatant disregard for worldwide law.

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

"Let me remind you, on my behalf to the Arbitration Tribunal of the UN Convention on the law of the sea was filed on protecting the sovereign interests of Ukraine, in particular, in connection with the illegal construction of the bridge Kerch", - said Poroshenko.

"France condemns the construction by Russian Federation of the Kerch Bridge, which deprives Ukraine of full access and the use of its internationally recognised territorial waters", a French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

Many in Russia saw the bridge as a move toward restoring Moscow's rule over a historically Russian region.

"The Russian occupying powers, which have temporarily occupied Crimea, are continuing to act outside worldwide law", Volodymyr told the French news agency.

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.

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The landmark bridge will start regular operations at 5:30 a.m. through the Kerch Strait on Wednesday. "Many didn't believe these plans were possible", Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony.

Putin, whose popularity rose drastically after Russian Federation invaded and occupied Crimea in the spring of 2014, personally oversaw the project, which started in 2015.

"Today, both in a practical sense and from a symbolic point of view, is an extremely important day", he added. "This constitutes another violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russian Federation", the European Union said.

The motorway section of the bridge has over 60 road signs and ten automatic systems monitoring compliance with traffic regulations. Auto traffic on the bridge will start on may 16 at 5.30 am.

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

Over 10,000 people worked to complete the Crimean Bridge six months ahead of schedule.

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