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 project was aimed to facilitate transportation between mainland Russian Federation and the peninsula, which were previously connected only by a ferry line.
'It's especially cynical that the bridge is opened shortly before the anniversary of the 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars, conducted by the Stalinist regime (May 18, 1944 - 112 International)', he wrote.
The so-called work of the century is carried out with an estimated cost of 227 billion rubles (almost four billion dollars).
After Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014, the peninsula found itself between a rock and a hard place.
Ukraine has also previously complained that the construction has damaged the environment and that larger ships will be unable to get through to its ports on the Azov Sea.
The President expressed the hope that the second and third parts of the Crimean bridge will also pass in time and in proper quality.
Construction on the bridge to link Crimea with Russia's Krasnodar region began in February 2016.
European Union and U.S. sanctions have targeted those involved in building the bridge, principally Putin's close ally, businessman Arkady Rotenberg, whose company Stroygazmontazh won the construction contract. Crimeans were dependent either on airplanes or the ferry across the Kerch Strait, where volatile weather in winter and long lines in summer often caused lengthy delays and drove up prices for basic goods.
"Putin once more demonstrated that when he carries them out, even the most ambitious plans can be achieved", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Tuesday. Truck traffic will open tentatively in October 2018 and trains at the end of 2019. A connecting highway from Kerch to the regional capital of Simferopol is set for completion in 2020. It is also created to withstand ice floes in winter. Some Russians are calling it "Putin's bridge", created to link Crimea into Russia's transport network. The ceremony was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.