WASHINGTON, May 16. /TASS/. The Russian government is not planning to ask for anybody’s permission to build facilities in its own regions, the Russian embassy in US has said, commenting on Washington’s criticism of the Crimea bridge opening ceremony.
"Today Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially dedicated the first section of the Crimean Bridge. As one could predict, Washington is not happy with that. But Crimea is Russia. We shall not ask for anybody’s permission to build transport infrastructure for the sake of the population of Russian regions," the embassy said in a statement.
US Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters on Tuesday that the construction allegedly impedes navigation and "limits the ability to bring in goods via ship." In a separate written statement, she said that Washington "condemns Russia’s construction and partial opening" of the bridge, which "was done without the permission of the government of Ukraine."
Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the opening ceremony of the Crimean Bridge motorway section earlier on Tuesday, driving the lead vehicle of the construction equipment convoy.
The bridge connecting Crimea to the Russian mainland by road and rail, is the longest in the country and one of the largest in Europe. Its span stretches across 19 kilometers.
The construction and installation of the bridge kicked off in February 2016. It originates on the Taman Peninsula, runs through a five-kilometer dike area and the Island of Tuzla, then crosses the Kerch Strait and reaches the Crimean coast.
On March 16, 2014, Crimean authorities held a referendum on reuniting with Russia against the background of a protracted political crisis and a coup in Ukraine. Over 80% of voters participated in the plebiscite, most of them supporting the idea (96.7% in Crimea and 95.6% in the city of Sevastopol).
On March 18, President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the Federal Assembly (parliament) approved the document on March 21. Ukraine, the United States and the European Union have so far refused to acknowledge Crimea as part of Russia.