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Kerch Strait Bridge

Kerch Strait Bridge is intended to create a land connection between Crimea and Krasnodar region which, in light of Ukraine’s blockade of Crimea, is crucial for supplies from Russia. Kyiv and Moscow signed an agreement in 2013 to build a bridge that would connect the two states through the Kerch Strait, but Ukraine left it after the Crimean occupation. Russia built this bridge to the occupied Ukrainian Crimea itself, without the consent of Ukraine.

Following the seizure of Crimea by Russia in 2014, the issue of transport communications with the peninsula emerged. Logistics was the main problem of the business and the population of Crimea. The traditional approach - the use of ferries, has exhausted itself and today the Crimea-Caucasus ferry is operating at the limit of its capacity. Almost immediately after the words of the President of Russia V.V. Putin’s need to build a ferry across the Kerch Strait has again resumed controversy between “lyricists and physicists” about what kind of ferry Crimea needs - in the form of a bridge or tunnel. And here again "every sandpiper praises its swamp". Bridgers defend the idea of a bridge - beautifully, aesthetically, effectively, spectacularly, inexpensively (in their opinion), and the tunnellers objected to them and proposed their option, the tunnel, as the most reliable, protected and durable of artificial structures.

One of the main problems of the Crimean peninsula - energy supply - was resolved. On 27 December 2016, in a video conference mode, Vladimir Putin launched the gas supply to the Crimea from mainland Russia. This became possible after the connection of the gas transmission system of the peninsula to the Russian main gas pipelines. For the construction of a new gas pipeline from the Krasnodar Territory to the Crimea, 200 kilometers of high-quality pipes were purchased. The new gas pipeline to supply the Crimea is estimated at 20 billion rubles. 14.3 billion of this amount - the cost of pipes, which will pass through the bottom of the Kerch Strait, and further along the Crimean peninsula through Simferopol to Sevastopol. Its diameter at different sites will be from 500 to 700 mm. The pipe will allow pumping up to 4 billion cubic meters. meters of gas per year when the needs of the Crimea in 2 billion.

The Crimea Bridge [krymskij most] across the Kerch Strait connects the peninsula and the Krasnodar Territory. Its total length is 19 kilometers, which will make it the longest bridge in Russia. Ukrainian authorities repeatedly opposed the Russian infrastructure project citing ecological concerns and alleged transformation of the Azov Sea into the Black Sea Gulf. The investment in the project amounts to 200 billion rubles ($3.47 billion).

The construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait began in August 2014, when construction teams began carrying out earthworks in the area of approaches to the future bridge. The project documentation for the construction of a double-track railway with a length of about 42 kilometers had been prepared and passed state examination. The construction project of a forty-kilometer highway, which would go directly to the bridge across the strait, had also been approved. The company Railways had already begun work on laying new paths. The Russian Federal Road Agency authorized the construction of the 19-kilometer (11.8-mile) bridge in February 2016.

Vladimir Putin stressed that the bridge must meet certain requirements. "We have agreed that this will be a full bridge, a full transition, including a railway one. And he, too, must be complete in the sense that trains must be able to go both ways at the same time,” the president reminded the minister. The latter assured that the project envisages the construction of a two-way electrified road, which in its carrying capacity will be comparable to the Trans-Siberian Railway.

The response to the long awaited completion of the road bridge connecting the Crimean peninsula to mainland Russia was predictable, prompting a storm of angry comments from Kiev and Washington, and jubilation and relief among Crimea's residents and Russia as a whole. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the bridge's construction "illegal," and declared that the Russian "occupiers" would "necessarily need the bridge when they will urgently leave our Crimea."

The undisputed highlight of the opening ceremony 16 May 2018 was President Vladimir Putin's decision to jump into a KAMAZ dump truck and drive across the 19 km bridge with a column of trucks and construction machinery along with the bridge's builders. The future main road of the Crimea will be four-lane, its total length will be 275.5 km (in the Republic of Crimea - 237.5 km). “Tavrida” will link Kerch, Simferopol and Sevastopol with one thread. The company “VAD” from St. Petersburg was selected as a contractor for the construction of the highway and auto approaches to the Crimean bridge. The cost of the route should not exceed 139 billion rubles. The construction of a two-lane road from Kerch to Simferopol (the first to fourth stages) is scheduled for completion by December 2018. All four lanes of the new Tavrida highway will be put into operation on the territory of the Republic of Crimea in 2020.

Heather Nauert, US State Department Spokesperson, said May 15, 2018 "The United States condemns Russia’s construction and partial opening of the Kerch Strait Bridge between Russia and occupied Crimea, which was done without the permission of the government of Ukraine. Crimea is part of Ukraine. Russia’s construction of the bridge serves as a reminder of Russia’s ongoing willingness to flout international law. The bridge represents not only an attempt by Russia to solidify its unlawful seizure and its occupation of Crimea, but also impedes navigation by limiting the size of ships that can transit the Kerch Strait, the only path to reach Ukraine’s territorial waters in the Sea of Azov. We call on Russia not to impede this shipping."

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Page last modified: 29-11-2018 11:43:12 ZULU