The U.S. Department of State has condemned Russia's construction and partial opening of the Kerch Strait Bridge between mainland Russia and Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.
"The United States condemns Russia's construction and partial opening of the Kerch Strait Bridge between Russia and occupied Crimea, which was done without the permission of the government of Ukraine. Crimea is part of Ukraine. Russia's construction of the bridge serves as a reminder of Russia's ongoing willingness to flout international law," Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State Heather Nauert said at a briefing in Washington, D.C., on May 15.
According to Nauert, the bridge represents not only an attempt by Russia to solidify its unlawful seizure and its occupation of Crimea, but also impedes navigation by limiting the size of ships that can transit the Kerch Strait, the only path to reach Ukraine's territorial waters in the Sea of Azov.
"We call on Russia not to impede this shipping," she said.
Nauert reminded the United States had sanctioned numerous individuals and entities involved in this project. "These and our other Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine," she said.
"We once again reaffirm our commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and recall the international community's expression of that commitment in UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262," she added.