Russia will not use prisoners to build bridge to Crimea

The head of the Russian Federal Penal Service’s press service has denied that prisoners are to be used in the construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait to connect mainland Russia with Crimea, dismissing previously publicized reports as untrue.

The head of the Russian Federal Penal Service’spress service has denied that prisoners are to be used in the construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait to connect mainland Russia with Crimea, dismissing previously publicized reports as untrue. 

The head of the Russian Federal Penal Service’s press service, Kristina Belousova, has denied previously publicized reports claiming that prisoners would be used in the building of a bridge across the Kerch Strait to connect mainland Russia with Crimea.  

Earlier, some mass media outlets, referring to the words uttered by FSIN Deputy Director Oleg Korshunov in an interview with Kommersant, had written about Moscow’s plans to use convicts in construction projects.

“Major resources are needed for the construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait. It will be necessary to make reinforced concrete and engage in metal processing,” Korshunov had said.

“We are in a position to help and expect there to be large orders. Thus we intend to involve the entire colony of southern Russia in the project to make it happen. Additionally, it is a great opportunity for convicts to earn real money,” he had added.

However, as the head of the ministry’s press service, Kristina Belousova, announced, the FSIN deputy director’s words had been incorrectly interpreted.

“Not a single word in the interview was said about sending prisoners to build a bridge over the Kerch Strait. We are not going to do that. We do not have the right to use convicts for construction. I do not know who was able to take the interview and turn it upside down,” Belousova told RBTH.

According to her, the FSIN is prepared to involve colony enterprises in the preparation of building materials or other components, but the ministry has no contracts or even agreements with the authorities.

The bridge across the Kerch Strait will tie mainland Russia directly to Crimea. Currently, access to the peninsula from mainland Russia is only possible through Ukrainian territory or by crossing the strait by ferry.

As Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak previously stated, the cost of building the bridge is anywhere between 150 and 200,000,000 rubles ($42-56 million) – 74 projects with varying price tags are under consideration.

Presentation of the construction of the bridge across the Kerch Strait. Source: YouTube

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