The road section of the Crimean Bridge, which connects the annexed peninsula with the Krasnodar Krai of Russia, has been opened. Traffic of cars and buses will begin on May 16 from both sides of the Kerch Strait, along two lanes in each direction.
Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the official opening ceremony of the bridge.
He drove along the highway in a KamAZ truck, in a column of machinery that was used during the construction of the bridge. The drive from Krasnodar Krai to the Crimea took 16 minutes.
"In different historical epochs, even under the tsar, people dreamed of building this bridge. Then they returned to it in the 30s of the last century, the 40s, 50s. And finally, thanks to your work, this project, this miracle, happened, " Putin said.
The construction of the bridge across the Kerch Strait started in 2016. The bridge is the longest in Europe (19 kilometers). The construction of the road was completed six months ahead of the schedule. The construction of the railway section of the bridge is scheduled to be completed in 2019. The total cost of the project is 6.9 billion rubles ($110 million USD).
The construction of the Crimean Bridge violates the law of the sea, stated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
"The Kerch Bridge is built in violation of the sovereign rights of Ukraine. Negative impact on the environment, shipping and fishing is only an addition to the main problem. Without Ukraine’s consent , this bridge should not have been built at all, " wrote Deputy Minister for European Integration Elena Zerkal.
Zerkal reminded that in 2016 Ukraine filed a lawsuit against Russia regarding the violation of sovereign rights. She stressed that the construction violates several articles of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.