News World Putin opens Russian rail route to annexed Crimea

Putin opens Russian rail route to annexed Crimea

President Vladimir Putin on Monday opened a rail route linking Russia’s two biggest cities to Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and said it proved that the country could deliver on giant infrastructure projects.

Putin inaugurated the passenger service by personally taking a train across the road and rail bridge which Russian engineers built to link Crimea to southern Russia after an earlier pre-annexation route which ran through Ukraine was shut down.

“With your work, talent, determination and single-mindedness, you’ve shown that Russia is able to do such world-scale infrastructure projects. This is after all the longest bridge not only in Russia but also in Europe,” Putin told a crowd of construction workers.

“And you’ve shown that we can do such large-scale projects using our own technological abilities. This, without exaggeration, gives us all confidence that we can and definitely will do similar projects in the future.”

European Union sanctions ban European citizens and companies from investing in Crimea, including in the peninsula’s transport and infrastructure, something which complicated Russia’s drive to build the 212-billion-rouble ($3.4 billion) bridge.

Construction of the bridge, which is 19 km long (11.8 miles), was opposed by Ukraine, which says it wants the Black Sea peninsula back. The Kremlin has ruled out returning Crimea.

The bridge, likely to be viewed as an important part of Putin’s legacy, was designed to integrate Crimea into Russia’s economy and to end its relative isolation by allowing Russia to supply it by road and rail as well as by sea and air.

Putin said the new rail route would carry around 14 million passengers and about 13 million tonnes of freight next year.

HOLIDAY DESTINATION

Russian state television has likened the bridge to a multi-billion-dollar railway project under Communist leader Leonid Brezhnev which linked Siberia to the Soviet far east.

The first passenger train carrying 530 people left St Petersburg on Monday afternoon as Putin watched via video link from a location near the bridge in Russia’s Krasnodar region.

The passenger service from Moscow is due to start on Tuesday, while freight and passenger services from other Russian cities are due to commence next year.

Russia has relentlessly promoted Crimea, a favoured holiday destination in the Soviet era, as an attractive place for Russians to soak up the sun.

The contract to build the bridge was handed to Arkady Rotenberg, Putin’s childhood judo partner, who controlled the lead contractor. He accompanied Putin on Monday.

Top Stories

Digital Policy ministry ready for distance learning if lockdown imposed

  The Digital Policy ministry assured it was ready on the technical side to organise distance learning, if a total lockdown was imposed over the...

French Embassy express regret over inappropriate behaviour outside its offices, thanks police

  Τhe French Embassy expressed regret over the taking down and destruction of the country's flag outside its offices in Nicosia and a series of...

West wants to relaunch Crusades, Erdogan claims over Prophet cartoons

   Turkey’s leader said that Western countries mocking Islam wanted to “relaunch the Crusades”, heightening a confrontation with France over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad...

UK-first COVID vaccines ‘likely to be imperfect’ and ‘might not prevent infection’

  The first generation of COVID-19 vaccines "is likely to be imperfect" and "might not work for everyone", the chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce...

Renewed shelling claims lives in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict stretching into a 2nd month

  Azerbaijan and Armenia accused each other of killing civilians by shelling cities in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, in an escalation of a month-long conflict over...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...