May 16, 2018

CHANGE: Bridge linking Crimea with Russia opened by Vladimir Putin.

The 11.8-mile bridge, which took two years to build and cost $3.6 billion, is Putin’s project to show that Crimea has joined Russia for good. Transportation links to Crimea deteriorated after both the Ukrainian and Russian militaries set up checkpoints into the peninsula and trains crossing the Ukrainian mainland were canceled.

The Ukrainian government reacted to the opening with anger. President Petro Poroshenko lambasted the bridge as “yet another piece of evidence of the Kremlin ignoring international law” and “an attempt to legitimize the temporary occupation of the Crimean peninsula.”

Give Putin some credit on this one. Building a bridge to connect Crimea to Russia proper is both less expensive and less murderous than conquering the rest of eastern Ukraine, which seems to have been his original plan.