Railway traffic on the Crimean bridge will open ahead of schedule — in August-September 2019, reports RIA Novosti, referring to the statement of the Minister of Transport of Russia Yevgeny Dietrich.
"With regards to specific schedule, we will reach the object and consider the details related to the construction more specifically, and then we will announce how early we can finish the work," the Minister said.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the railway part of the Crimean bridge will be completed ahead of schedule. It was reported in March that the builders connected its spans over the Kerch Strait.
The bridge across the Kerch Strait which is 19 kilometers long connected the Crimea Peninsula with the Krasnodar region and became the longest bridge in Russia. It is built at the expense of the Federal budget. The total cost of the project is almost 228 billion rubles.
The vehicle part of the bridge was opened on May 15, 2018, and the next day the traffic of cars and buses was launched. According to the original plans, the railway connection between the Crimea and the mainland should open in December 2019.
The internationally recognized Ukrainian territory of Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation in March of 2014 in the wake of the Ukrainian revolution. The Kremlin has faced international condemnation for its annexation of the Peninsula, leading many western countries to impose economic sanctions against Russia. In the United Nations, only Afghanistan, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Syria recognize Crimea as a legitimate federal subject of Russia.