Wednesday March 20, 2019
Home Lead Story Putin Inaugur...

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.

0
//
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.”

Mountaineer Climbs Mount Everest in 5th Attempt: Chinese Double Amputee Climbs Mount Everest

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)

Next Story

Indian President Launches Pulse Polio Programme for 2019

He applauded the efforts of thousands of volunteers, frontline workers and health officials for tireless work for keeping the country polio-free

0
Polio
A health worker gives polio vaccine to a girl in Lahore, Pakistan. VOA

President Ram Nath Kovind, here on Saturday, launched the 2019 pulse polio programme by administering polio drops to children below five years at the Rahstrapati Bhawan.

The launch was organised on the eve of the National Immunisation Day, which will be observed on Sunday.

“Over 17 crore children below five years will be administered polio drops as part of the government drive to support polio eradication programme,” said a release.

Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, also present on the occasion, said the Universal Immunisation Programme was focusing on protecting children from diseases and has introduced several new vaccines, like pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, rotavirus vaccine and measles-rubella vaccine.

“To provide additional protection to the children, the government has also introduced the injectable inactivated polio vaccine in the routine immunisation programme,” Nadda said.

Polio, afghanistan
A boy receives polio vaccination drops during an anti-polio campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan. VOA

Pointing out that the government was making all efforts to protect children from diseases, he said the vaccines under the programme must reach the last child of the country.

“Along with the Universal Immunisation Programme, we have also launched the Mission Indradhanush to achieve more than 90 per cent immunisation coverage. Over 3.39 crore children and 87 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated through the Mission Indradhanush drives,” Nadda said.

Strengthening of the immunisation programme has contributed to the decline of infant mortality from 39 per 1,000 live births in 2014 to 32 in 2017, he added.

Also Read- Researchers Identify Key Gene Behind Breast Cancer

Nadda also appreciated the efforts of state governments and supporting organisations, like the WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International, for strengthening the polio programme as well as other immunisation initiatives.

He applauded the efforts of thousands of volunteers, frontline workers and health officials for tireless work for keeping the country polio-free. (IANS)