Russian president has opened a direct train link to the peninsula that Moscow annexed back in 2014

A new road and rail bridge now connects the Crimean peninsula and Russia.

The $4.5B transport link is the longest in Europe. But it's seen by many in Kiev as a symbol of Moscow's control over the peninsula.

And the United States and European Union consider it a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty, and have imposed sanctions on companies involved in its construction.

Moscow and Kiev's relations have worsened since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

The peninsula had only been accessible from mainland Ukraine, until the bridge was opened last year - marked by President Vladimir Putin driving a truck over it.

Now, trains are starting to cross, running from St. Petersburg to Crimea’s largest city, Sevastopol.

And on Tuesday, from Moscow to the capital Simferopol.

What does this mean for the future?

Viktor Olevich, Lead Analyst at the think-tank Centre for Actual Politics.

Ilya Ponomarev is CEO of Trident Acquisitions and a former member of Russia's parliament.

Daragh McDowell, Principal Russia Analyst at the global risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

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Washington Post 08 Apr 2020 21:50 CEST