The financing of the Kerch Strait Bridge construction, conducted by Arkady Rotenberg's Stroygazmontazh LLC (SGM Group), is suspended, as reported by Forbes citing a letter from the head of the contracting company, Andrey Kirilenko, to the Russian Ministry of Transport.
The letter states that the last time Stroygazmontazh received money for the construction of the bridge was in December 2015. The payment of nearly 65.5 billion rubles scheduled for 2016 has not been made yet, according to the letter.
Kirilenko also points out that the company cannot build the bridge within the planned timeframe and invest in the purchase of expensive construction equipment due to the delay in payments for already performed work. "Construction of the bridge is now facing an extremely critical situation," the edition quotes the head of the SGM Group as saying.
The Russian Ministry of Transport confirmed to Forbes that they had received a letter from Kirilenko on May 30th and are working on a response.
The Kerch Strait Bridge will link the annexed Crimea with neighboring Kuban. Traffic testing on the bridge was planned to begin in December 2018, and the bridge was set to reach substantial completion in June of 2019. More than 228 billion rubles from the Russian budget were allocated for the construction of the bridge.
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the necessity of building a passage over the Kerch Strait immediately after the annexation of the Crimea in March 2014. The decree appointing the SGM Group as the general contractor for the bridge was signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on January 30, 2015.
Ukraine withdrew from an agreement with Russia on the construction of the bridge in 2014, right after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.