Bridge to Crimea: media reaction
The long-awaited opening of the Crimean bridge took place on May 15. Russian President Vladimir Putin personally led the convoy of transport, sitting behind the wheel of one of the trucks. He also wholeheartedly thanked all those who took part in the "construction of the century", especially the workers, and reminded them of the timing of further work. So, to open traffic for heavy trucks is planned in the autumn of this year, and the first trains will move to Crimea in 2019.
The Western media could not ignore such a symbolic event. However, in an attempt to denigrate Russia in every way, they recognized its victory. So, in the British newspaper The Telegraph, there are phrases about "annexation" as well as about the wholehearted support of the population of Russia of the policy pursued by the president of the country:
The president, whose approval ratings shot above 80 per cent with Crimea's annexation, personally oversaw it. ...The bridge may offer some relief for residents of the peninsula, who largely supported annexation but have suffered high prices for food and goods after deliveries from Ukraine were stopped.
At the same time, the author of the material was also forced to recognize the Crimean bridge as a geopolitical victory of Russia and a great achievement of engineering thought:
Spanning the notoriously windy Kerch strait was not only a geopolitical victory, but also a feat of engineering...The new bridge relies on piles running up to 350 feet deep to cross four miles of open water. As many as 15,000 workers at a time toiled on the 27-month project.
The Italian newspaper Il Foglio wrote about the opening of the Crimean bridge, although in the vein of Western criticism, but beautifully:
A dynamic and elegant tongue of concrete and rails, greedy for Azov, is a monument of fleetingly flashed history that the international community could not stop.
As for the American media, the completion of the "construction of the century" and the symbolic trip of Vladimir Putin on a new bridge from the mainland to the peninsula caused them serious concern. So, a CNN journalist, Matthew Chance, on the air from the opening ceremony said:
This is a very bad sign. This shows the Russian expansion and the resurgent Russia, which is of particular concern to the inhabitants of Eastern Europe.
However, most of all, of course, the opening of the Crimean bridge was traumatizing for Kiev. The first persons of Ukraine and the main Ukrainian media, one after another, printed angry and self-effacing materials. So, the president of the country Peter Poroshenko in his Facebook wrote that "the bridge will be necessary for the invaders when they will leave our Crimea urgently."