Russians will need bridge over Kerch Strait when they abandon Crimea, - Poroshenko

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EU sanctions five people for organising Russian elections in Crimea

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 on Tuesday.

The opening ceremony drew criticism from the West.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stressed that Ukraine would consistently work to expand national and global sanctions against individuals and legal entities involved in the illegal construction of the Kerch bridge.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman condemned the project, saying it has damaged the environment and that larger ships will not be able to pass through its ports on the Azov Sea. Many in Russia saw the move as restoring Moscow's rule over a historically Russian region.

This is said in a statement made by the European External Action Service on Tuesday.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to open a 19-kilometer bridge connecting southern Russia to the Crimean peninsula on Tuesday.

Built at a cost of 223 billion roubles ($3.6 billion US), it will be the longest dual-purpose span bridge in Europe.

"France condemns the construction by Russian Federation of the Kerch Bridge, which deprives Ukraine of full access and the use of its internationally recognized territorial waters", a French foreign ministry spokesperson said.

"This is an extremely important day from this point of view and in a practical sense and in symbolic terms".

Putin is known to drive automobiles himself from time to time during working trips about the country.

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The motorway section of the bridge has over 60 road signs and ten automatic systems monitoring compliance with traffic regulations.

The Soviets managed to finish the bridge in the summer of 1944 using the materials left by the German army, but the bridge was destroyed six months later by ice flows.

In celebration, Russian authorities organized pop concerts at both ends of the bridge, events that recalled the massive pro-Kremlin celebrations held in Simferopol and Moscow in 2014 after the invasion and start of the Russian occupation of Crimea.

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