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Russian President Vladimir Putin Drives Kamaz Truck to Crimea on New Bridge, Bikers Join the Drive

Some Russians are calling it "Putin's bridge", designed to link Crimea into Russia's transport network.

Reuters

Updated:May 17, 2018, 11:34 AM IST
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Russian President Vladimir Putin Drives Kamaz Truck to Crimea on New Bridge, Bikers Join the Drive
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R, front) drives a Kamaz truck during a ceremony opening a bridge, which was constructed to connect the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula across the Kerch Strait. (Image: REUTERS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, driving a truck, unveiled the auto section of a new road-and-rail bridge linking Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula, defying Ukraine which said the move showed cynical disregard for international law. Putin, at the wheel of an orange heavy KAMAZ dump-truck, drove 19 km (12 miles) across the bridge from the Kerch Strait.

Some Russians are calling it "Putin's bridge", designed to link Crimea into Russia's transport network. At a ceremony broadcast live on state TV, Putin, dressed in blue jeans, was met by cheering workers on the Crimean side after driving the truck in a convoy of vehicles.

Vehicles drive along a bridge, which was constructed to connect the Russian mainland with the Crimea. (Image: Reuters) Vehicles drive along a bridge, which was constructed to connect the Russian mainland with the Crimea. (Image: Reuters)

"At last, thanks to your talent, this project, this miracle, has happened," Putin told the workers. The road stretch of the bridge was due to be completed by the end of 2018, but the opening was brought forward at Putin's request.

Leather-clad bikers with Russian national flags joined motorists driving for the first time across a newly-opened bridge linking Crimea with Russia. Some local residents on the Crimean side of the bridge waved from the roadside as a convoy of bikers, among them the leader of a pro-Kremlin biker group, tooted their horns on their way onto the peninsula.

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"The Crimea bridge is a link," said Andrey Merkulov, a resident from Sevastopol at the bridge on the Crimean side. "It is the greatness and might of my country. It's yet more proof of this might and greatness."

Some Crimean residents said they had driven through the night from the peninsula's biggest city, Sevastopol, to attend what they described as a historic moment. "We came to participate in the opening (of the bridge), to drive on it for the first time," said Aleksandr Karavayev, a resident of Sevastopol.

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| Edited by: Arjit Garg
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