BRUSSELS, December 30. /TASS/. The European Union is again demonstrating double standards when it protests against opening the Crimean Bridge for railway traffic, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said in an interview with TASS on Monday.
"As a matter of fact, the European Union has always been picturing itself as a bridge builder. For instance, former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker used to say that. Suffice it to mention his speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2016. He said back then that the European Union wanted ‘to build bridges, not walls.’ Sounds good. By the way, even each euro banknote has a picture of a bridge, the bigger its face value, the bigger and more advance bridge it depicts," he commented.
"But I have questions. I would not even mention now walls some of the EU countries are building along their border to stop migrants. But why should it protest against opening the Crimean Bridge for railway traffic? It’s nothing but the practice of double standards," he stated.
In its press statement on December 23, the European Union External Action Service called the opening of the Crimean Bridge’s railway section as "another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russia." It claimed that this railway link "is yet another step towards <…> Crimea’s isolation from Ukraine." Apart from that, according to the EEAS, "the bridge limits the passage of vessels through the Kerch Strait to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea."
The Crimean Bridge is the largest structure in Russia and Europe that connects the Kerch Peninsula (Crimea) with the Krasnodar Region (the Taman Peninsula). The bridge is needed for continuous transport communication between Crimea and other Russian regions. The transport link consists of two parallel motor and railway sections. The bridge’s motorway section was put into operation in May 2018 and freight traffic across it started in the fall of the same year.
On December 23, 2019, Russian President Putin took part in the ceremony to open railway traffic between Kerch and Taman. Cargo train traffic is set to start on the Crimean Bridge in July 2020.