Russian state media hail 12 -mile bridge across Kerch strait as construction of the century

Vladimir Putin has opened a bridge between the Russian mainland and Crimea, stiffening Russia's hold over the contested peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

The 12 -mile( 19 km ), $3.7 bn( PS2. 7bn) bridge is Moscow's only direct road link to Crimea. Russia expects it will carry millions of cars and rail travellers and millions of tons of cargo each year. Previously, all car traffic passed over the Kerch strait by ferry or by passing through Ukraine.

Relations between Russia and Ukraine remain exceedingly fraught as a simmering conflict continues between Kiev and Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine's south-east. In 2016 the US imposed sanctions on Russian companies that were helping to build the bridge across the Kerch strait. Ukraine has said the construction of the bridge depicts blatant neglect for international law.

The Crimea bridge

On Tuesday Putin drove an orange Kamaz truck across the bridge as he opened the road to auto traffic.” In different historical epochs, even for the purposes of the tsar clergymen, people dreamed of constructing this bridge ,” Putin told workers at the ceremony.” Then they returned to this[ notion] in the 1930 s, the 40 s, the 50 s. And finally, thanks to your work and your talent, the miracle has happened .”

Russian state media touted the bridge as the” building of the century “. The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany had considered and then scrapped plans to build a bridge over the Kerch strait. Ferry traffic is often halted because of bad weather.

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