A new cross-border bridge which links Russia and China opened on Friday, as the two countries grow closer in the wake of the war with Ukraine.
The bridge runs from the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk to Heihe in China over the Amur River, or Heilongjiang in Chinese, and measures just over 1 km (0.62 miles) long.
According to the state-run Russian news agency RIA, the cross-border bridge cost over 19 billion roubles ($342 million) to be constructed.
At the bridge’s inauguration on Friday, crowds on both sides of the cross-border bridge set off fireworks and hung flags representing the colors of the Russian and Chinese flags across the length of the new construction.
The bridge will further link Russia and China, which established a “no limits” trade partnership between the countries just before the war with Ukraine, a move that was essential for Russia in the wake of the conflict after which many countries cut ties with Moscow.
Bridge linking Russia and China opened on Friday
In a statement, Yuri Trutnev, a representative of the Kremlin, said that: “In today’s divided world, the Blagoveshchensk-Heihe bridge between Russia and China carries a special symbolic meaning.”
Hu Chunhua, Vice Premier of China, affirmed his country’s commitment to cooperating with Russia in many facets.
Construction of the cross-border bridge began in 2016 and was completed two years ago. It was not opened until now, however, due to coronavirus restrictions related to crossing international borders.
The new construction will likely increase trade between the two countries and ease travel between Russia and China. Those hoping to cross the bridge will have to pay a toll of 8,700 roubles ($150). However, officials expect the cost to drop.
BTS-MOST, the company that handled construction of the bridge from the Russian side, stated that the new infrastructure will make the distance needed to move goods from China to western Russia 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) shorter.
Before the opening of the new bridge, Russia and China already had strong trade and economic links.