Russian President Vladimir Putin is marking the fifth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine by visiting the Black Sea peninsula.
Putin attended the launch of new power plants in Crimea, part of Moscow’s efforts to upgrade the region’s infrastructure. Ukraine has cut off energy supplies to the peninsula and blocked shipments of Crimea-bound cargo via its territory after Moscow annexed the region in 2014.
Russia’s modernisation effort has included the construction of an 11.8-mile bridge across the Kerch Strait linking the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov that opened last year.
The 3.6-billion US dollar (£2.7 billion) project helped facilitate links with Crimea, which previously depended on a ferry crossing that was often interrupted by gales. Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014 following a hastily-called referendum, a move that drew US and EU sanctions.Meanwhile, Nato and the European Union have condemned Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.