European Union expands sanctions against Russian Federation for 'election' in Crimea - Poroshenko

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Putin at the wheel of Kamaz headed the convoy of the vehicles and cargo equipment that made the first trip over the bridge.

Russian President Vladimir Putin inspects the road section of the road-and-rail Crimean Bridge over the Kerch Strait on March 14.

The Crimean Bridge was opened for traffic earlier today.

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Built at a cost of 228 billion rubles (USD 3.7 billion), the new structure connects the southern Krasnodar region with the Crimean city of Kerch, spanning a strait between the Black and Azov seas. On Tuesday, Ukraine blasted Russian Federation for violating worldwide law with the bridge's construction.

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.

At the same time, Poroshenko stressed that punishment for any illegal actions against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine was inevitable.

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European Union member states chose to impose travel bans and asset freezes on five individuals, who held positions in electoral commissions in Crimea, which the European Union considers "actively supporting and implementing policies that undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine".

"Such actions by Moscow fundamentally contradict the generally recognized norms and principles of worldwide law, grossly violate the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 and bilateral treaty obligations to Ukraine", the ministry said in a statement on May 15 when Russian Federation officially opened the bridge.

The 12-mile road and rail bridge is the only land link between Russia with the Black Sea peninsula, seized by Russian forces from Ukraine in 2014.

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