The Russian authorities in Crimea have begun laying railway tracks on the bridge that spans the Kerch Strait, the Russian media reports.
Construction of the railway line on the bridge from from Crimea to Russia began in summer 2018, starting at Krasnodar Krai on the Russian side. Now the builders are moving towards each other from opposite ends. A track layer entered the bridge from the already constructed section of the railway approach, which is being built at the same time as the bridge.
At present, nearly 22 out of 38 km of railroad ties have been laid. The railway on the bridge and the approaches are scheduled to be completed by December this year.
Ihor Voronchenko, commander of the Ukrainian Navy, said that the Crimean Bridge could disrupt the underwater currents and the movement of ice from the Azov Sea into the Kerch Strait. The bridge was opened to road traffic in May 2018. In Autumn 2018, the Ukrainian Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories reported that several stretches of the bridge had been shifting noticeably.
Putin stressed the importance of building a crossing over the Kerch Strait immediately after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014. Ukraine is performing an ecological assessment of the bridge’s impact in order to file an international lawsuit against it. Ukraine is also preparing to sue Russia for the losses that the bridge has caused to its ports in the Azov Sea.
The Dutch Public Prosecution Service is investigating seven local companies that are involved in the construction of the bridge.