MOSCOW, May 15 (RIA Novosti) – Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev has confirmed an ambitious plan to build a bridge over the Kerch Strait to connect the region’s eastern industrial cluster to Russia.
“A decision was taken to move the main industrial facilities to northern Crimea,” Temirgaliyev told RIA Novosti in an interview Thursday. He added the zone was already home to two major chemical plants.
“The main industrial development area will, of course, be located in the Kerch peninsula [in Crimea’s east]. This is connected with the plan to build a bridge [over the Kerch Strait], as well as with the fact that it has a lot of space and … advanced electricity and gas grids, all of which will help set up a major industrial cluster on the Sea of Azov,” the minister said.
Crimea, previously an autonomous republic within Ukraine, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the government in Kiev, which seized power as a result of a coup in February, instead rejoining Russia after a referendum that saw over 96 percent of voters in the region back the motion to leave Ukraine.
Crimea and Sevastopol, which has a special status within the region, became subjects of the Russian Federation on March 21 after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed reunification documents into law.
Russia has repeatedly said that Ukrainian nationalists and the government’s attempts to forcefully assimilate the Russian-speaking minority bore full responsibility for the civil crisis in the country which resulted in the reunification of Crimea with Russia.