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Bridge marks physical 'reunification' of Crimea with Russian mainland

Moscow (CNN)Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday will mark the opening of the Kerch Strait bridge, a construction project that has become a metaphor for his 18-year rule.The 19-kilometer bridge, now the longest in Europe, links Russia's Krasnodar region with the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014. And its opening, in Russia's official narrative, marks the physical "reunification" of Crimea with the Russian mainland. But it's also a symbol of Russia's international isolation. Russian special forces seized Crimea in a lightning operation in February 2014. The Kremlin at first denied that the troops -- masked men in camouflage without unit insignia -- were Russian military, but later acknowledged that the so-calle ...