Video Duration 24 minutes 45 seconds
From: Inside Story

Is Vladimir Putin creating a new reality on the ground in Crimea?

The Russian president has opened a direct train link between Russia and the peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.

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

The $4.5bn transport link is the longest in Europe and is seen by many in Kyiv as a symbol of Moscow’s control over Crimea.

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 Kyiv’s relations have worsened since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

The peninsula was only accessible from mainland Ukraine until last year when Russian President Vladimir Putin drove a truck over it to mark the opening.

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?

Presenter: Sohail Rahman


Viktor Olevich – Lead analyst at the think-tank Centre for Actual Politics

Ilya Ponomarev – CEO of Trident Acquisitions and a former member of Russia’s parliament
Daragh McDowell – Principal Russia analyst at the global risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft