Russian President Vladimir Putin officially opened the Moscow metro’s Big Circle Line on Wednesday, though he surprisingly elected to do so via video link rather than attending the ceremony in person.
Calling the new line "a much-needed project for the city," Putin congratulated "Muscovites and residents of the Moscow region," on the opening of the giant project, according to news agency RIA Novosti.
"The line has become the world's largest underground subway ring," Putin said, adding that he intended to take the Chinese delegation to see the line during the upcoming visit of Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Moscow.
The opening ceremony, which was held at the Sokolniki metro station, was attended in person by Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin and some of the thousands of workers who took part in the line's construction.
Earlier on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the construction of the new metro line had been "a mammoth project."
The Big Circle Line project, which cost some $6.6 billion to build, is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Russia in recent decades. With a length of 70 kilometers and boasting 31 new metro stations, the Big Circle Line is expected to transport 3.3 million people daily and massively reduce overcrowding on the city’s inner metro ring.