MOSCOW, Sept. 2 (UPI) — New U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia will not affect progress on the Kerch Strait bridge, which will connect Crimea to southern Russia, authorities said.
Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said construction will continue despite pressure on Russia to withdraw military personnel from Ukraine. Companies that include gas and oil contractor Stroygazmontazh, bridge builder Mostotrest and road construction company DSK were among the 37 entities named as subjects of U.S. sanctions Thursday.
“I want to underline that this will neither affect the terms of the project’s implementation nor the order or amount of financing, nor the materials used nor their supplies as these technologies and materials are ‘import-replacing’ and their major part is manufactured on the territory of this country,” Sokolov said.
Russian energy giant Gazprom said the new sanctions will have little effect because the company is already under previous U.S. sanctions.
“The announcement … does not change anything in the actual state of affairs neither for the Gazprom bank nor for the mentioned enterprises,” a company representative said.
The $3.2 billion, 12-mile bridge, widely known as Putin’s bridge because it has been viewed as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pet project, began in May 2015. The road and rail bridge will connect the eastern Crimean Peninsula with Krasnodar Krai in southern Russia, eliminating the need to travel through Ukraine to reach Crimea by land. It is expected to open in December 2018.