Skip to Content

Construction of the Crimean bridge, Kremlin.ru

Is the Crimean bridge becoming another flashpoint?

Kiev has sparked a crisis by seizing Russian vessels in the Kerch Strait; the Ukrainian authorities have been asked to back down before the situation deteriorates further. The Kerch Strait connects the Black Sea and Azov Sea, and Russia to Crimea.

Published: May 6, 2018, 10:40 am

    Read more

    The construction of a bridge from Russia to the peninsula across the Strait was started after the Crimeans voted overwhelmingly in 2014 to rejoin Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed hope that the bridge would be ready by the summer of 2018.

    Russia has accused Ukraine of piracy, after Ukraine’s move in the Sea of Azov now risks becoming the next flashpoint in the Ukrainian war.

    On March 25, Ukraine detained the Russian-flagged fishing vessel Nord, which was allegedly operating in Ukrainian waters, in the Sea of Azov. Registered in Crimea, the vessel and its ten crew members were escorted to the port of Berdiansk and are currently awaiting trial in Ukraine.

    On April 10, Ukrainian authorities arrested another Russian vessel, a dredger ship, temporarily docked in the Odessa-region port of Yuzhny, for allegedly carrying out illegal sand extraction works in occupied Crimea, Russian news agency TASS reported last month.

    Ukraine has expressed the desire to police the Strait, and the Ukrainian authorities are preparing “convoy escorts” to limit Russian water traffic. In an interview in the Observer with the former deputy minister of defense of Ukraine, the admiral of the reserve Igor Kabanenko explained Ukraine’s stance.

    According to him, Kiev is preparing military convoys to escort ships passing through the Kerch Strait.

    “We should prepare for various negative scenarios until we blockade the passage of vessels across the Kerch Strait to Mariupol and Berdyansk, military convoys may not be needed, but under certain conditions this may be the only way to ensure the safety of all at the junction of the two seas,” Kabanenko said.

    In this case, the admiral said, “any measures to detain or inspect convoy ships will be qualified as an attack on a military convoy, that is, an act of aggression, with the corresponding rights and duties of warships to repel it.”

    As a measure of “deterrence”, the admiral proposed military patrols at sea. Kabanenko however said that US patrol boats “which would guarantee the capabilities of the Ukrainian Navy” have not yet been delivered to Ukraine.

    Kerch Strait, LandSat-5, 2011-08-30, NASA

    Earlier, Ukrainian deputy Refat Chubarov proposed to create an international consortium that will manage the Crimean bridge “after its alienation” from Russia.

    Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelian told RFE/RL that the Infrastructure Ministry and the Justice Ministry are preparing lawsuits against Russia over the “illegal construction” of the bridge to be filed to the international courts.

    “We are losing a lot of money because of the limited parameters of ships, which now cannot pass under the arches of the bridge. The estimates are modest so far – tens of millions of hryvnias – but I think that losses are much larger as we are losing jobs,” Omelian complained.

    But Construction.ru was assured by the press office of the Russian Federal Marine and River Transport Agency, that the limitations were for the purpose of ensuring navigation security.

    The bridge has created a new controversy in The Netherlands too where seven Dutch companies and their directors working on the construction linking Russia to Crimea, was criminally charged on Friday for allegedly breaching European Union sanctions against Moscow.

    NU.nl reported that the companies thought they could circumvent the European Union sanctions by only working on the Russian side of the border. But Dutch prosecutors disagreed. “This is a serious offense, undermining the EU sanction regime,” prosecutors said in a statement.

    Individuals found to have breached sanctions can be sentenced to up to six years in prison or a maximum fine of 82 000 euros, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said. Companies face even stiffer fines, up to 820 000 euros.

    The prosecutors did not name the companies involved, but said the transactions under investigation took place between November 2015 and the latter part of 2017. The spokeswoman has declined to give further details.

    The companies involved are alleged to have supplied machines, machine parts and other services for the construction of the 19-kilometer long bridge, the Dutch prosecutor’s office said. The EU sanctions state that European companies are not allowed to import goods from the Crimea and may not invest there, among other things.

    Construction of the bridge on March 2016, Wikipedia

    Companies from Milsbeek and Dodewaard are implicated in breaking sanctions against Russia. De Gelderlander reported that employees of the Milsbeek company were currently in Russia for the construction of the bridge.

    Without the bridge, there was no direct connection from Russia to Crimea. The bridge will open next weekend.

    Russian special services have meanwhile been deployed in the waters and airspace of the Strait to prevent potential provocations by Islamists and Ukrainian special services, said Alexander Bortnikov, Head of National Anti-Terror Committee, and Director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), in a statement.

    “Manpower and resources have been prepared for coordinated actions in case of terror threats against erected facilities,” Bortnikov told the Russian National Anti-Terror Committee.

    As EADaily reported earlier, on April 7, a Ukrainian Volunteer Movement Organisation, OUN, announced terror attacks timed for the opening of the Crimea Bridge.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    • Sergey Tokarev

      Russia is at last responding to Ukraine’s piracy. Ships coming to and out of Azov ports are searched by Russian border patrol several times.

    Europe

    House of pro-Macron official targeted by Yellow Vests

    The home and car of a pro-Macron elected official from Charente were enveloped by Yellow Vest protesters in quite an unusual way.

    Salvini demands extradition of leftist terrorists from France

    RomeMatteo Salivini, Italy's interior minister, said he would meet with French President Emmanuel Macron to demand the extradition of left-wing activists in order to "bring those murderers back to Italy".

    Crash of print media in Germany continues

    The crash of print media in Germany continues. More than 80 percent of major titles lost buyers in the fourth quarter of 2018. Top titles lost readers in the double-digit percentage range. 

    ‘Soros is practically dictating Brussels’ migration policy’

    Brussels“The European Parliament’s fresh decision to increase funding for ‘Soros groups’ once again makes it clear that George Soros is practically dictating Brussels’ migration policy,” ruling Fidesz’s communications chief said on Thursday.

    Merkel’s union open to gender quotas in Bundestag

    BerlinMerkel's party is now aiming to increase gender quotas. Their blind spot to leftist violence has not changed however.

    German secret service moves against AfD

    BerlinThe Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution - as the secret service is called in Germany - has classified the AfD as a so-called "suspect case".

    Le Pen’s RN abandons Frexit as AfD gets ready to embrace Dexit

    The head of the list for Marine Le Pen's party in the European elections, Jordan Bardella, ruled out the notion of a Frexit, suggesting that perhaps it was no longer so desirable in an "evolving" Europe.

    Marine Le Pen launches her campaign for the European election

    ParisOn Sunday, Marine Le Pen launched her campaign for the May 26 European Parliament election with an appeal to the Yellow Vest movement in a bid to pressure beleaguered President Emmanuel Macron. She said: ”The battle is now between nationalists and globalists.”

    Act IX: Yellow Vests numbers on the rise

    ParisYellow Vest mobilization is on the rise, with 84 000 demonstrators counted by the Ministry of the Interior this weekend in Act IX of the French movement. Many clashes between protesters and law enforcement broke out, and more than a hundred arrests took place in Paris.

    Germany aims at UN Security Council seat

    New YorkThe new friendship agreement between Germany and France will, according to a statement of the German Federal Government, contain a point confirming the support of the idea of ​​a permanent seat for Germany in the UN Security Council.

    Go to archive