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Putin Inaugurated Bridge That Links Russian Mainland to Crimea

Relations between Russia and Ukraine remain extremely fraught as a simmering conflict continues between Kiev and Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine's southeast.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has inaugurated a highly-controversial bridge linking the Russian mainland to Crimea, tightening Russias hold over the contested peninsula which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Position of Crimea. Pixabay

Russian President Vladimir Putin has inaugurated a highly-controversial bridge linking the Russian mainland to Crimea, tightening Russias hold over the contested peninsula which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

The 19-km, $3.7 billion bridge is Moscow’s only direct road link to Crimea. Russia expects it will carry millions of cars and rail travellers and millions of tonnes of cargo each year. Previously, all car traffic passed over the Kerch strait by ferry or by passing through Ukraine, the Guardian reported.

On Tuesday, Putin drove an orange Kamaz truck across the bridge as he opened the road to car traffic. “In different historical epochs, even under the tsar priests, people dreamed of building this bridge,” Putin told workers at the ceremony.

“Then they returned to this (idea) in the 1930s, the 40s, the 50s. And finally, thanks to your work and your talent, the miracle has happened.”

The Russian state media touted the bridge as the “construction of the century”. The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany had considered and then scrapped plans to build a bridge over the Kerch strait.

Relations between Russia and Ukraine remain extremely fraught as a simmering conflict continues between Kiev and Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine’s southeast.

In 2016, the US imposed sanctions on Russian companies that were helping to build the bridge across the Kerch strait. Ukraine said the construction of the bridge showed “blatant disregard for international law”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has inaugurated a highly-controversial bridge linking the Russian mainland to Crimea, tightening Russias hold over the contested peninsula which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Vladimir Putin opened the bridge from Russia to Crimea. wikimedia commons

The US State Department said that “the bridge impeded ship navigation and goods delivery in the area and therefore it was watching the situation closely”.

The Russian embassy, however, said that “the US remarks were predictable and Moscow was not asking anyone’s authorization for building infrastructure projects on its territory.

“As one could predict, Washington is not happy with that. But Crimea is Russia,” the Russian embassy said in a statement.

“We shall not ask for anybody’s permission to build transport infrastructure for the sake of the population of Russian regions.”

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The bridge’s construction was led by Stroygazmontazh, whose owner, Arkady Rotenberg, has close connections to the Kremlin. Rotenberg was Putin’s judo sparring partner.

He was hit with sanctions by the US for his proximity to Putin and by the EU for being among those accused of undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

The bridge was completed six months ahead of schedule, according to Russian state news agencies. It can reportedly carry up to 40,000 cars per day, its span is greater than that of the Vasco da Gama bridge in Portugal, previously the longest in Europe. (IANS)

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Here’s How Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Impacts The World

Donald Trumps's approach to international issues has an impact on the world

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Donald Trump
Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump. Wikimedia Commons

‘Trumped: Emerging Powers in a Post-American World’, a new book authored by international affairs academic and commentator Dr. Sreeram Chaulia was launched in the capital on Thursday. Published by Bloomsbury and I.B. Taurus, the book challenges liberal presumptions that America has done tremendous good in the world, and that it is bound to lead the world or else there would be chaos and collapse.

Chaulia is Professor and Dean, Jindal School of International Affairs (JSIA), O.P. Jindal Global University. In his latest work, he argues that US President Donald Trump’s disruptive, populist and isolationist foreign policy has opened the door for rising powers in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa to replace the US and take over leadership of these regions.

Donald Trump's policy
The American polity under Donald Trump is impacting the rest of the world. WIkimedia Commons

The book delves deep into Trump’s approach to international issues, his trademark foreign policy style, the divisions within his ‘two-track presidency’ and how the struggle between ‘nationalists’ and ‘globalists’ in the American polity is impacting the rest of the world.

It reviews how foreign policymakers in key rising power centres of the world are looking at America under Trump and adjusting their national security and economic strategies and also provides fresh thinking about the future of the international order by arguing that the solution to a withdrawing and isolationist US is not a return to a single global order but new ‘post-American’ regionally-based multiple orders

Speaking during the book launch at the United Service Institution (USI) in Delhi, Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director, Vivekananda International Foundation and former Deputy National Security Adviser of India, said that there was a need to develop an Indian narrative on global issues.

US President Donald Trump
Donald Trump has a different approach to international issues which affects the entire world. Wikimedia Commons

“Dr. Chaulia’s book gives us a very confident and bold assertions that countries like India can take advantage of the emerging world order. What will be the shape of this new multi-polar world?” he added.

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Following the release of the book, Meera Shankar, Ambassador of India to the United States (2009 to 2011), Dr. Harsh Pant, Professor, Kings College London, United Kingdom, Smita Sharma, Foreign Affairs Journalist and Editor and Marc Reyes, Fulbright Scholar and Researcher, participated in a panel discussion. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Mohan Kumar, Vice Dean, Jindal School of International Affairs and former Ambassador of India to France (2015-2017) (IANS)