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Russian Railway To Start Selling Train Tickets To Crimea Across New Kerch Bridge

With a length of 19 kilometers, the bridge cost $3.7 billion to build and is Europe's longest.

The first trains from mainland Russia to the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula across the newly constructed bridge over the Kerch Strait will start rolling next month, TASS reported, citing the Grand Service Express carrier.

The privately owned railway company on November 7 announced the first train will depart from St. Petersburg for Sevastopol on December 23 and will travel 2,741 kilometers in 43.5 hours.

Tickets go on sale on November 8 with prices for that route starting at $55.

The train from Moscow to Simferopol -- the peninsula's capital city -- departs on December 24 and travels 2,009 kilometers in 33 hours. Tickets start at $62.

The railway section of the bridge marks its expanded use after Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the connection on May 15, 2018 for vehicle usage.

With a length of 19 kilometers, the bridge cost $3.7 billion to build and is Europe's longest, surpassing the Vasco da Gama bridge in Portugal.

Kyiv has condemned the project not only for violating its sovereignty and territorial integrity but also for the bridge's low clearance, which has encumbered maritime shipping traffic for Ukraine.

Russia seized control of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and quickly annexed the region in a move not recognized by the international community. Moscow has also backed separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine in a war that has killed more than 13,000 people since April 2014.

Sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States have targeted those involved in the bridge, including businessman Arkady Rotenberg, a close Putin ally whose company won construction rights for the bridge.

Based on reporting by TASS