Putin drives across new bridge linking Moscow-annexed Crimea to Russia

EU sanctions five people for organising Russian elections in Crimea

EU sanctions five people for organising Russian elections in Crimea

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko called the elections in occupied Crimea is a gross violation of global law and called for increased sanctions pressure on the Kremlin. "Particularly cynical is the fact that its discovery comes on the eve of the anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people by the Stalinist regime", - wrote Poroshenko.

Russian Federation annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, drawing sanctions and prompting a deterioration in ties with the West.

The spokesperson of the European External Action Service said in a statement on Tuesday the bridge was "another violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity".

Russian state television showed Putin dressed in jeans and a casual jacket sit behind the wheel of a construction truck with workers to drive 19 kilometres (12 miles) across the bridge, which links the Taman peninsula in southern Russian to Ukraine's Crimea peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.

"The European Union continues to condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russian Federation and will not recognize this violation of global law", the spokesperson said.

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A view of the new bridge linking Russian Federation and the Crimean peninsula prior to its opening ceremony near Kerch, Crimea, May 15, 2018.

Built at a cost of 223 billion roubles ($3.60 billion), the bridge is set to be the longest dual-purpose span in Europe.

Putin, whose popularity rose drastically after Russian Federation invaded and occupied Crimea in the spring of 2014, personally oversaw the project, which started in 2015. "Many didn't believe these plans were possible", Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony.

"Today, both in a practical sense and from a symbolic point of view, is an extremely important day", he added. Vehicle traffic on the bridge will start on may 16 at 5.30 am.

The railway bridge is not yet finished and has a deadline of the end of 2019.

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