The Sun News
CRIMEA - BRIDGE - PUTIN

Putin opens bridge to Crimea, Russia’s first road link with peninsula

The Telegraph

Vladimir Putin has opened a bridge that will serve as Russia’s only road link to Crimea, demonstrating Moscow’s control over the annexed peninsula and easing its residents’ isolation.

Almost 12 miles in total, with almost 4 miles over open water, the bridge is Russia’s longest and one of its most complex engineering projects. The four lanes of automobile traffic that open to the public on Wednesday will next year be joined by a railway, at a total cost of £2.7 billion.

Mr Putin, whose approval ratings have remained above 80 per cent since the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, personally oversaw the project.

The bridge marks a symbolic victory for him and a popular move for Crimea, where residents largely supported annexation but have suffered high prices for food and goods after trade from Ukraine was cut off.

Companies belonging to Arkady Rotenberg, Mr Putin’s childhood judo sparring partner, were tasked with completing the national prestige project.

Spanning the notoriously windy Kerch strait was not only a geopolitical victory, but also a feat of engineering. The bridge has 595 supports, and some of its piles run more than 300 feet deep. A previous bridge was destroyed by ice in 1945.

Companies belonging to Arkady Rotenberg, Mr Putin’s childhood judo sparring partner, were tasked with completing the national prestige project.

Spanning the notoriously windy Kerch strait was not only a geopolitical victory, but also a feat of engineering. The bridge has 595 supports, and some of its piles run more than 300 feet deep. A previous bridge was destroyed by ice in 1945.

Its massive twin central arches were were built on shore and then moved into place by boats.

Previously, the main connection with Russia was a ferry over the stormy Kerch strait. Trucks will now be able to travel from the mainland to Crimea in 20 minutes, rather than waiting hours or even days for a spot on the ferry.

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Tokunbo David
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