MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin inaugurated on Tuesday a 19-kilometer-long (12-mile) bridge linking the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia four years ago, to mainland Russia over the Kerch Strait.
As part of the bridge’s opening, Putin got behind the wheel of a truck and drove it in the direction of Crimea, leading a long convoy of orange vehicles.
Construction work on the bridge, which comprises of four lanes for traffic and two railway lines, began in February 2016.
The bridge would open to drivers on Wednesday while work on the train lines was expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
Its construction was one of Putin’s promises after Russia annexed the region from Ukraine in May 2014, following a referendum.
The annexation was not recognized by Ukraine or the international community.